The benefits of high-rise apartment living may include a panoramic
view, elevators or doormen. Some apartments have smoke alarms and
others have security systems. But these devices alone do not provide
complete fire safety. High-rise apartment tenants should develop and
practice a fire escape plan.
The plan should include a sketch of the apartment showing all windows,
doors, stairwells and any other alternate means of escape. The escape
routes should be clearly marked in red on the sketch.
Fire drills should be held so that each member of the family knows
the location of all exit stairwells and how to get to them as quickly
as possible. Special provisions should be made for the elderly and
the very young, by assigning another member of the family to help
them escape safely.
Here are some additional fire safety tips for high-rise apartment
- If a fire occurs, do not panic. Staying calm will increase
chances of survival.
- Remember that smoke rises. It also kills. Even if you can tolerate
the smoke while standing, it is safer to crawl to the door.
- Do not open the door until you have checked to be sure there
isn't fire on the other side. Feel the door knob. If it's hot,
the fire may be just outside your door.
- If the door is not hot, brace your shoulder or foot against
the door and open with extreme caution. Should you be confronted
with a high concentration of super-heated air or smoke, close
the door immediately.
- If the hall is passable, use one of your pre-designated escape
- Don't waste time gathering personal belongings. Shut the door
and take your key.
- Don't use the elevator. It may stall due to heat or loss of
- If you must use an inside stairwell, check the door for smoke
on the other side before entering the stairwell.
- If the stairwell is safe to enter, walk downward. Don't run.
Hold onto walls or hand rails to prevent falling.
- If all of your escape routes are blocked, it may be safer to
return to your room.
- If you must remain in your room because escape routes are blocked,
open a window slightly to let smoke escape. If the window will
not open, do not break it - a large hole can pull smoke into the
room. If the smoke is outside, keep windows closed.
- Don't jump. You may not survive the fall.
- If you must remain in the room, close all vents and air ducts.
Wet towels and sheets and stuff them around doors and into vents
and air ducts.
The best thing an apartment tenant can do is:
- practice safety at all times
- never block windows or doors with heavy furniture
- eliminate potential fire hazards by not allowing trash to accumulate
in the apartment or around the building
- keep kitchen air ducts free of grease
- don't store flammable materials in the apartment.
Report all potential fire hazards to your building superintendent.
If no action is taken, report the condition to the fire department
or other authorities.