Fire Emergency Tips for Colorado Apartment Residents

Lewisville apt fire

Two in 10 Americans live in an apartment or condo. That may not sound like a lot, but that translates to 56 million people. When it comes to their safety, those who live in apartments need to be aware of how to protect themselves from fires as they face concerns that differ from those living in single dwelling homes.

For instance, a free-standing home usually offers a number of escape routes in an emergency, but apartments generally don’t, especially those on upper floors. Apartments can also be more dangerous to live in because a fire that starts in one can affect several others. In fact, it’s unusual to go more than a month without seeing a story about a Colorado area multi-unit apartment fire in the news.

If you live in an apartment, the following are some helpful fire safety tips to review so you know how to react if a fire breaks out in your building.

Know Your Fire Alarm System

Although the thought of an apartment fire can be terrifying to residents, the building’s fire alarm system can warn residents of the danger. Here are facts you need to remember concerning those fire alarms:

  • Fire alarm systems consist of smoke detectors, fire alarms, and manual fire alarm boxes. But the smoke detectors won’t set off the fire alarms if they detect any smoke. This prevents everyone in the building from evacuating just because someone burnt their toast.
  • Know the location of the manual fire alarm boxes in your building so you can find them quickly in an emergency. They’re usually near the exits.
  • If you’re evacuating the building due to a fire and the alarm hasn’t sounded, activate the manual fire alarm box as you exit.
  • If you hear the alarm, don’t ignore it. Instead, treat it as an actual emergency and evacuate immediately! Don’t reenter the building until you’re given permission by the fire department.
  • Don’t activate the manual alarm box unless you see smoke or fire. False alarms may cause residents to ignore future fire alarms and they force the fire department to treat them as an emergency.

Have a Fire Evacuation Plan

Evacuating an apartment building during a fire is a bit trickier than evacuating a home. Follow these tips to help you prepare a fire evacuation plan from your apartment:

  • Know where all sets of stairs are. You may need to use another staircase if the one closest to you is blocked.
  • Before exiting your apartment, feel the front door with the back of your hand to ensure the hallway is safe. If it feels hot, use another exit.
  • Take along the keys to your apartment in case you can’t safely evacuate the building and close all doors as you leave.
  • If there’s no safe exit (for example, from an upper story), stay in your apartment and call 911. Then seal the door and air vents with wet towels or duct tape to prevent smoke from entering, open a window and yell for help. Wave a bright piece of cloth or use a light so that the firefighters notice you.

The best thing an apartment dweller can do is to practice safety at all times:

  • never block windows or doors with heavy furniture
  • don’t allow trash to accumulate in the apartment or around the building
  • clean your kitchen of any greasy buildup
  • don't store flammable materials in the apartment
  • report all potential fire hazards to your building superintendent
  • if action isn’t taken, report the condition to the fire department or other authorities

If you're in the market for a new apartment, be sure to check any potential unit and building for working smoke detectors and fire alarms. Mention any fire safety concerns you have before signing the lease.

If you’re an apartment building owner or manager in Pueblo, Leadville or in central Colorado who has experienced a fire loss, be sure to contact Cyclone Kleen Up immediately. We have the ability to restore fire-damaged structures quickly and efficiently to their original pre-loss condition.