Responsibility for the fire safety of your building lies with every resident. That is why it is so important that you plan together to keep your apartment as fire safe as possible and learn the right thing to do should fire break out. The first place is to learn the facts.
Inspect your apartment/building. Look for fire hazards listed below. If you find a hazard, try to correct the situation with the assistance of your apartment roommates and/or landlord. If you are unable to correct the hazard or secure the cooperation of your landlord, notify the Division of Fire Prevention of the Providence Fire Department at 243-6050 as soon as possible for assistance. Or come to the Department of Public Safety Headquarters, Providence Fire Department, 325 Washington Street, Providence RI, 02903
HOW DO MOST APARTMENT FIRES START?
SMOKING is the #1 cause of all fatal apartment fires. Nearly a third of them are caused by someone smoking in bed. Other smoking fires start when a cigarette is dropped in upholstered furniture, when smoldering butts are thrown in waste paper baskets, or by other careless accidents.
HEATlNG EQUIPMENT is another common cause of apartment fires. Fires start when people leave combustibles, such as paper or clothing, too close to heaters or stoves. Improper use of space heaters can also lead to fire.
FIRES at NIGHT are less likely to be detected because people are sleeping. Most residential fires occur at night when apartments and tenements are most heavily populated.
BE PREPARED AND PLAN AHEAD
Meet with your landlord or building manager to devise fire safety plans for your building. Invite a representative of your local fire department to help you out. Ask him to check the building for fire hazards and advise you on fire prevention and escape planning.
FIRE PREVENTION TIPS FOR APARTMENT AND TENEMENT LIVING
As part of your plan, explore your building. Know every possible exit, including exits from laundry, storage, and recreation rooms. If hallways become smoky in a fire, your memory can help you find a way out. Remember never to use elevators in a fire. Keep exit and stairwell doors closed at all times, but not locked. Keep exits clear of debris and storage.
Be concerned for fire safety by being sure your building does not exceed the maximum allowed number of units for that building, especially without fire protection systems or other appropriate measures in place, such as exits, detectors, sprinklers, etc.
Be careful with smoking materials. Keep large ashtrays for smokers. At night, check behind furniture and cushions for dropped matches or cigarettes. Remind everyone never to smoke in bed!
Check regularly for electrical hazards, such as worn electrical cords, overloaded extension cords and outlets, and broken appliances.
Do not store flammable liquid, such as gasoline, in your apartment, car, or anywhere else inside your building. The vapors from flammable liquids can ignite even at temperatures below zero. Use extreme caution!
Make sure fire detection systems work.
Smoke detectors and fire alarm systems alert you to fire right away, so you can get out of the building safely.
If your building has a fire alarm system, be sure to learn to recognize the sound of the alarm. Know where the alarms are located in your building and how to operate them in an emergency.
Install smoke detectors in your unit and throughout your building. Be sure to place detectors on the ceiling near bedroom areas. This way, if a fire starts while you are asleep, detectors will wake you up before it is too late.
If you notice that smoke detectors in your unit or hallways are beeping intermittently, be sure to have their batteries changed or electrical systems checked. Replace dead batteries immediately and do not remove batteries as a substitution for use in another appliance.
TIPS FOR THE USE OF SMOKE DETECTORS
- A smoke detector is needed on each level of your house.
- A smoke detector is needed outside all sleeping areas.
- A smoke detector is needed inside the bedroom if the occupants sleep with the door closed.
- Smoke detectors should be audible from all bedrooms.
- Additional smoke detectors are needed for early warning in special areas, such as boiler rooms, hallways, exits, etc.
- Each smoke detector should have a national testing laboratory label.
- Follow the manufacturer's cleaning and testing instructions on a smoke detector.
- Test each smoke detector regularly, at least once a month.
- Room/housemates should work together on a plan to maintain smoke detectors.
In a fire, there is not time to stop and think. You need to know in advance the two quickest safe ways out of your apartment and your building. That is why it is critical that you make and practice escape plans.
Draw up floor plans and evacuation procedures for each floor with exits clearly marked, and post them in a conspicuous place for yourself and your guests to utilize. Usually, posting plans in high traffic areas, such as exit doors and foyers, is the best idea.
Once you have mapped an evacuation plan, decide on a meeting place outdoors. Go there as soon as you exit the building and stay there. This way, you can keep track of who is out and who may be trapped inside. If you think someone is trapped, tell the fire department. DO NOT GO BACK IN THE BUILDING YOURSELF!
PRACTICE! As silly as it may sound to you at this time, rehearse your escape plan as a group. Make sure everyone knows the right thing to do when an emergency situation arises.
Check regularly for electrical hazards, such as worn electrical cords, overloaded extension cords and outlets, and broken appliances. Do not store flammable liquid, such as gasoline, in your apartment, car, or anywhere else inside your building. The vapors from flammable liquids can ignite even at temperatures below zero. Use extreme caution!
FIRE HAZARDS CHECKLIST
Look for and check the following fire hazards:
- ANY Gasoline or other flammable materials indoors
- Units/apartments should not exceed allowed capacity for that specific building
- Frayed electric cords or broken appliances
- Overloaded outlets
- Cords under rugs or in areas of high traffic
- Burnable trash in cellar, attic, or hallways
- Smoke detectors with dead batteries or simply inoperable
- Blocked exits/inadequate exits
- Careless smokers. Ashtrays emptied in trash cans
- No escape plan
- Fire department phone number posted
- Space heaters near curtains, furniture, plastics etc.
- No screen on fireplace or wood stove
- Hot water temperature above 120 degrees