Here’s the thing. As a survivor, I have often found myself in very tough spots, and the very first thing I have experienced when caught off guard is paralyzing fear. In situations where you have an imminent fear of death, the reflexes can take their sweet time to kick in, and by then it might be too late. So, as the famous saying goes, ‘precaution is better than cure’, we must learn the necessary precautions to avoid getting hurt. In this particular article, we will go through apartment fire safety tips and how to always stay prepared for accidents.
Apartment Fire Safety
Keeping yourself safe makes you a survivor, but taking the necessary steps for the entire apartment building’s safety makes you a hero. Now who doesn’t like being a hero, right? The more you know about fire safety, the better your chances are to stay safe. Here are a few things to always keep in check in the apartment building to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize the chances of accidents.
Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
Sure, smoke alarms have got your back, but when was the last time you checked their batteries? They are the very first indicators that things are going haywire and they must be operable at all times. Ideally, fire detectors should be installed high on the ceilings or walls inside every room and floors of the apartment, and their batteries need to be changed regularly.
Now, you can’t manage the fire extinguisher maintenance yourself, but you can always remind the building management to do so! This includes easy access to the fire extinguisher, keeping the recommended pressure levels in check, making sure of its cleanliness and looking for rusts and damages from time to time. It might come in handy to have some guidelines and instructions with you on how to use it yourself.
The Tangled Cords
I wish for a day when almost every gadget and electronic item will become wireless. Until then, we must respect those cords! They power our entertainment units and play stations, the least we can do is keep them untangled, and make sure that they are replaced when they start fraying and cracking. Also, don’t let them become a tangled mess because that never ends well! Make sure that the wires and cords running under rugs and behind furniture are never exposed to a damp environment.
Fire Escape Routes
There are various routes within the apartment that can help you escape in case of a fire. In most apartments, there’s a fire escape window with ladders leading you down to safety. But we often take them lightly. If I had a penny for every time I saw fresh laundry drying outside a fire escape window, I’d be a rich man. Unobstructed and swiftly opening windows can save lives! Always remember that the descending fire ladders are your best friends.
Similarly, the stairways and emergency exits of the apartment should be free of rubbish. Sometimes, they are used as storage areas and for garbage cans. Inform the building management if you see any obstruction on the stairways, and ensure that the exit lights are in working order too. Not everyone has good eyesight, and when smoke fills up the building those brightly shining exit lights can be a lifesaver.
Heaters and Stoves
Anything that produces heat or fire on its own automatically becomes a fire hazard. That doesn’t make it the enemy, but only requires you to practice extra care around it. Space heaters are Godsent during those harsh winter winds, just make sure that they have enough room to breathe and not placed in direct vicinity of anything else. Ideally, it should have three feet of free space all around it. Same goes for your stove. Don’t forget to turn off the gas when you are going out!
Recently, an episode from a famous TV show made me realize how important it is to replace slow cookers when you’ve had one for too long. Appliances and flammables can catch fire if they are old and fraying, even if you are safe and careful with their handling. If they are a family memorabilia, by all means use them as an antique piece. All heat-producing appliances and their plugs must be in good condition, and replaced from time to time.
Now that we have discussed how to prevent a fire, let’s dig into how you can prepare yourself in case of a real fire. I’d start by quoting Professor Moody from Harry Potter, ‘Constant Vigilance!’ Catch the early signs of fire, the smoke detector going off, or even a little bit of smoke. It could also be something subtle, like door knobs feeling warmer than usual, or perhaps a strange smell.
Know Your Escape Routes
You might have to reach an escape route in the midst of smoke and haze. Your vision won’t be your strongest sense at the time, so you must familiarize yourself well with the escape routes. This includes the nearest fire exit, an escape window with ladder, and any existing evacuation plan of the apartment.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Keep an emergency bag prepared at all times. It should be near your bed when you sleep, so you can grab it and run if the need arises. The number one thing I’d recommend in your emergency bag is theEmergency Fire Blanket. It is a must have emergency tool in cases of fire, as you can use it to put out a small fire while you escape. You can even wrap it around you or save a loved one’s life.
Also keep one handy when you are out barbecuing, those grills and open fires can betray you any moment! It is fairly compact and very light so it won’t take much space or weigh you down. You can also keep some valuables like bank cards and IDs, along with a first aid kit, a flashlight and whistle, a mask or an inhaler pump if you are asthmatic and other medicines.
Waiting For Fire Department
I hope this scenario occurs when you are already outside the apartment. But you should also be prepared for the worst. If you are stuck inside a room, and the doorknobs feel too warm to touch, it might be wise to stay in. It indicates that there’s fire right outside the door and it can harm you. Whereas staying inside and taking necessary steps to ensure your safety have much higher chances of survival.
In this case, make sure that the room is completely insulated. Stuff the cracks, gaps between doors and windows with damp towels, beddings, pillowcases, and rags. You can also use duct tape and cover the vents. Call 911 immediately and inform them of the situation and your location. It’s best to crack open a window and signal for help. This can be done by flashing a torch or waving a brightly colored cloth. If your doorknob is cool to touch, you can slowly and carefully open it and evaluate the condition of the hallway. Follow the building’s evacuation plan but never use an elevator.
I hope this article was helpful and taught you about safety, survival and how it’s important to take independent steps for both precautions, and emergencies. You can never be sure if someone else is holding up their end of the bargain when living in an apartment, but you can play your part as a responsible individual. Remember to help yourself first, when you are strong and safe, only then can you be equally strong support for a loved one.
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