Apartment Fires – Causes and Prevention

Fires in a residential setting, whether in a single-family home or an apartment, can be frightening. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe and that you know what to do in the event of a fire.

Today, we’re going to discuss apartment fires – what starts them and what you can do to minimize the chance that one occurs. Let’s jump right in.

What Causes Apartment Fires

Apartment fires are caused by a whole myriad of things – ranging from cooking and kitchen fires to heating equipment malfunctions, smoking materials, and the like. Most of the things you’d think would put you at risk for fire in a single-family home are the same kinds of things that would put you at risk in an apartment setting. That is – with the exception of a few dozen other people living in the complex alongside you – but we’ll get into that later.

Staying Proactive About Prevention

While there are plenty of traditional steps you can take to make sure you’re safe from a fire in your apartment – there are some additional steps you can take as well. For one – before you decide to rent an apartment, make sure the building has performed a fire inspection and is up to code. Ask about things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. And most important of all – ask your leasing agent for all of this information. They should have it both ready and accessible.

While in your apartment – there are other things you can do – most of which involve traditional means of fire prevention such as not leaving cooking unattended, keeping matches and lighters where kids can’t get to them, not smoking in bed and the like. But you should also be mindful of your space. That means not using your balcony for storage or cooking. That means being diligent about replacing worn electrical cords and making sure you have appropriate power strips. Most of all – it’s understanding that fire prevention is an ongoing, constant part of your consciousness.

What To Do In The Event Of A Fire

First and foremost, apartment fires are pretty perilous situations and you need to be on your toes when exiting a building. First, know where fire extinguishers are in your building and in your home. If an extinguisher is small and portable, you might want to consider bringing it with you.

Second, you should check any door before you open it. If the door is cool, be sure to open it slowly and stay low to the ground as you exit the building. If the door is warm, seal it (preferably) with a soaked or wet towel/fabric and then head to the nearest window. Immediately call 911 to let them know you’re here and signal for help. Be sure to give them your exact location.

Third, if you do leave your apartment, ALWAYS take the stairs and NEVER get into an elevator.

And last but certainly not least, once you’re out of the building, don’t go back in for any reason whatsoever. Call 911 or ask a member of the fire department that has responded.

Remember, fire safety is something you need to be conscious of at all times. Keep these tips in mind in the event that you ever encounter an apartment fire.

If you need more information on this or any other fire or life safety topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

School Fire Safety

Keeping schools safe from fire should be a priority at all levels of school. Regularly scheduled fire drills are a start, but more things can be done to prevent fires and improve existing protection.

Here are some things we think school systems everywhere should be thinking about in addition to escape plans and drills.

Back to Basics

A lot of safety measures available to schools simply involve common sense. That means making sure that staff and students have an overall awareness of fire safety and can integrate it into their day-to-day activities. For example – nothing flammable or combustible should be near a heating unit of any kind. Or perhaps it’s as simple as simply checking the chords connected to a teacher’s electrical device to make sure they’re not stretched or damaged.

Simply put – the best fire safety practices just involve groups of people being more conscious of what can cause fires and what simple things they can do to avoid them.

Doors and Hallways

It’s imperative that schools make sure their emergency exit doors and signage is as well maintained as possible. Keeping these in good, working order ensures that everyone knows where to go in the event of a fire, and that the fire can be contained more easily.

Also – a common mistake staff make on a consistent basis is leaving swinging doors and fire doors propped open to improve the flow of foot traffic in the hallways. This is actually a mistake. Those doors should be closed as much as possible because in the event there is a fire – it’ll be a lot more difficult for the fire to spread. That means safer kids and significantly less damage.

Secondary schools

Once you get into middle and high school, you’re introduced to things like chemistry rooms, bunsen burners, and the like. Some include non-traditional classroom settings, workshops, woodshops, kitchens, and other skill-developing spaces. This represents a whole new level of awareness for the people using the space and more safety guidelines to follow – and every school should make sure their staff are thoroughly trained in the dos and don’ts of each.

For example, it’s important for Home Economics teachers to know what to do in the case of a grease fire. Workshops should be kept free of potentially flammable debris. Labs should have any toxic or potentially flammable liquids stored and disposed of properly. And in all of those settings, there should be proper ventilation.

Whether it’s smoke detectors, extinguishers, exists or sprinkler systems – it’s important for schools to make sure their facilities are up to code and ready in the case of a fire.

For more information on this or any other fire protection topic, please call Protegis Fire & Safety.