Fire Safety in Buildings

Your residential building should be equipped with smoke and heat detectors, and other fire alarm components. Learn to recognize the sound of your building’s alarm.  Newer buildings are now equipped with amplified tones as opposed to bells so familiarization with this new tone is important.  As part of your building maintenance, there should be monthly fire alarm testing in which you will be able to hear the alarm tone.

Most high-rise buildings are constructed of fire resistive materials, contain enclosed stairwells and have prescribed fire separations. Fires are generally confined to individual rooms or apartments, furnishings or possibly one floor.  Wood frame buildings up to four stories in height have either enclosed stairwells or possibly external fire escapes.  Doors leading to these stairwells must be kept closed at all times to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.

Fire Safety Plan

Your building should have a fire safety plan.  This plan would have floor plans and evacuation procedures which should be posted on every floor.  Always know at least two ways out of your building and you should practice your evacuation frequently.  You should try to co-ordinate a building wide fire drill once a year.

How to Exit

Always check a door’s temperature before you try to open it.  Use the back of your hand to feel the door, and if the door feels warm, or if there is smoke or flames on the other side of the door, do not open it.  Exit through another door if you have one, and if you do not, you should protect yourself by sealing any openings with towels or bedding. 

Always call 9-1-1 and tell the fire dispatcher where you are located so they can send someone to you.  Never go to the roof as you may become trapped.  Never use an elevator in a fire.  Always use the exit stairwells and close doors behind you, but do not let door closing delay your exiting.