Fire-Proof Your Apartment for Fire Prevention Month
If you live in an apartment building, you’re at an increased risk to become a victim of a home fire. That’s because you share a wall, floor, or ceiling with a neighbor. While city codes and regular inspections ensure that apartment buildings are up to safety standards, it’s still important to do your part and minimize the chance of a fire starting in your unit.
Since it’s fire prevention month, take some time to make your apartment or home safer. You can identify the riskiest areas of your home by taking a look at statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Ugly Stat: Non-Functioning Alarms
For every five home fire fatalities, three are due to a non-functional or non-existent fire alarm.
Your state law likely requires your landlord to have a working smoke detector in each room of your apartment. The detectors should always be operating. If you notice it malfunctioning, such as emitting inconsistent noise, flashing lights, or no light at all, notify your landlord or maintenance staff to get it checked out immediately. When you hear the low-battery chirp from the detector, remove the batteries, but don’t forget to replace them!
Kitchen is Where It All Starts
Forty-two percent of home fires start in the kitchen, while only 4 percent start in the living room.
Cooking is one of the top causes for home fires. Don’t leave anything unattended on the stove, and clear the area around the burners of any potholders or kitchen utensils.
No. 1 Cause of Fatal Fires…
The No. 1 cause of fatal apartment fires is smoking. A third of apartment fires are caused by someone smoking in bed.
Always put out cigarettes in an appropriate container. The ashtray needs to be emptied regularly, or can become flammable. Never smoke in bed, and keep cigarettes, matches, and lighters up high out of children’s reach.
Living Room Has Lower Percentage of Fires
Even though only 4 percent of fires start in the living room, electrical fires that begin in the living are more likely to result in death.
Unplug your small appliances when they’re not in use. Check all your living areas for misused, faulty, or overloaded extension cords and outlets. Cords shouldn’t be run under rugs, and should be kept clear of high-traffic areas. Damaged or fraying electric cords should be replaced.
Winter is Worst Season for Fires
Lots of cooking, heating, and lighting use during the winter months translate to increased risk of fire. Never leave candles or heaters unattended, and clear the area around them so nothing can catch on fire if knocked over. Christmas trees need to be dry before strung with lights. To reduce the risk of your tree igniting, switch to low-wattage LED lights.
Most apartment fires are the result of accidents, so it’s equally important to be prepared in case a fire does break out in your building. Be familiar with the exit routes out of your building, as well as where fire extinguishers are located. Talk with your family or roommates to establish a common meeting place. Having a course of action will minimize panic and confusion in the case of an emergency.