Olivia Larson
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Fire Safety Tips For Your Luxury Apartment

Just because you're living in a luxury apartment, doesn't mean you're off the hook for fire safety. Since you are in a shared building there's always some vulnerability no matter how careful you are. At the same time, your lack of attention can put others at risk. So, here are some of the important fire safety tips for you to remember, especially during this holiday time of year when you or others may light candles, use a fireplace, or plug in many more  lights than usual.

Fires can spread quickly so it is best to be prepared at all times. The tips I share here could save your life or someone elses.

Safety Begins At Home

Be sure to follow all fire safety protocols in your own apartment. Verify that any extension cords you use can handle the power draw of the lights or any other electronic decorations. Be careful with electrical cords and don't run them underneath your rugs. You want them out of the way, not trampled upon.

If you have space heaters, you should use models that shut off automatically if they tip over. And, never leave a space heater turned on when you are away from your apartment or when you are sleeping. Keep space heaters, and anything else that heats up, away from flammable items such as furniture and draperies. Also, it is best to unplug the devices when you are no longer using them.

It is always important to verify that the smoke detectors are working in your apartment unit. Be sure to check the batteries every six months. A general rule of thumb is when we set the clocks forward or back, it's a good time to change batteries.

Do you know the escape routes from your apartment unit? Share this information with everyone in your family. If there is a fire emergency you want everyone out as fast as possible without thinking about the best way. If the apartment complex has a common room, such as a fitness center, a clubhouse, or a community meeting area, it's good to know how to exit those areas safely as well.

Remain Calm

If smoke alarms start going sounding in your apartment building, stay calm. Do not panic. The first thing to do is check to see that your planned exit route is clear of smoke and fire. Before you even leave your own apartment, feel the door. If it's already hot, your exit route is probably blocked. If you think it is safe to open the door, still be very cautious, and be prepared to close the door quickly again if necessary. If you find your escape route blocked, call the emergency number or 911. Tell them you are stuck in your apartment. Give them your unit number so they can provide this information to first responders.

If you cannot exit your apartment safely and are waiting for help, put wet towels at the bottom of all exit doors. This will help prevent the fire from coming under the door. It will also help keep smoke out. If you can hear or see first responders nearby, yell loudly to them so that they become aware of your presence. If out of voice range, you can go to a window and signal with a flashlight or brightly colored fabric until you are certain someone noticed you.

If you determine that it is safe to exit your apartment, don't use the elevator. If power fails it could break down and you may be stuck there. Or it could take you to a more dangerous floor without your awareness. Or, if the elevator is in a good position, your use may take it away from first responders who are trying to reach those in a tough spot. Therefore, you should use the stairs, and exit the building by the quickest and safest route. Take your apartment key with you. Not only do you want to get back in when the danger has cleared, but this can be important if you find your exit is blocked somewhere along the line with a locked door.

Pay Attention

If first responders are already in your building and they're giving people instructions to stay or leave, pay attention to those instructions. They are likely to have already determined the best way for you to exit safely. If they wish to escort you out of the building, go peacefully along with them.

By following these tips you can save your own life or another. It's important that you know your apartment building well and are aware of all the exits. It's also good to know your way with limited information in case you can't see the route clearly. For example, if you know how many doors are in the hallway between your unit and the stairs you can count doors as you crawl along the floor. It can also be helpful to know how many stairs are between floors so you can track your way down.

I hope you never need to know this information, but it can help if you do.

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