Being a considerate neighbor in multifamily housing extends beyond simply adhering to quiet hours and community rules. The decisions we make in our homes could have a lasting impact on others, which is why it is important to consider this, especially regarding fire safety.
Fire safety may not be a “hot” topic for many; however, having a basic understanding can help prevent a small accident from becoming a large tragedy.
According to The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), the two leading causes of apartment fires are cooking at 73.6% and heating at 5.2%. Additionally, there are two categories for residential fires: confined and non-confined. Confined fires are those confined to specific objects or equipment, such as a cooking pot. While confined fires are less dangerous and destructive, they still present a threat.
The good news? Apartment fires are often preventable! Consider the Fire Safety tips below and help do your part to keep our communities as safe as possible.
Around the house: Candles and Cooking
One of the most common causes for cooking fires is improper clean up. Ensure that your prep and cooking spaces are clean and cleared of debris. This will aid in preventing unwanted combustible material from catching on fire.
When you are done cooking, remember to turn off all appliances. Never put something in the oven, even if you have the cooking time set, and leave it unattended. Side note, this is the same rule of thumb for other appliances as well! Do not run the dishwasher, washer, dryer, etc. and leave your home for the afternoon. You never know when a leak, fire, or other accidental mishap could occur!
Lastly… candles. We all love a fresh smelling home, but do not sacrifice your community’s safety for “Grandma’s kitchen” scent. Instead, use oil or reed diffusers for safe, non-heat or flame alternatives that will still bring back those fond memories of grandma’s cooking.
Know your home: Smoke Detectors and Heating
Every home or apartment has smoke detectors. Depending on other mechanicals, they may also have carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure detectors are tested consistently. Testing smoke detectors often is an important measure to ensure there is proper notification should a room become filled with smoke. Should you have questions on how to perform this test, or should you ever notice anything not functioning properly with any detectors, notify management right away. Lastly, never remove your smoke detectors. They are present for everyone’s, including your neighbors,’ safety.
Did you know? At The Gallina Companies, we test your smoke detectors annually for you! But that does not mean you should not do it more often!
It is important to know what type of heating system you have. Why? Because there are different red flags you should watch for depending on the type of heating system you have. For example, with electric heat or baseboard heaters, you will want to ensure items are kept clear from the heating element to prevent fires. For gas heat, understand and know the smell of natural gas. If you catch a whiff of natural gas, call your utility company immediately for further investigation and instructions to minimize the risk of a fire. Of course, there are other heating systems out there. Ask your management team what type of heat you have so you can be best prepared in the event you need to act!
Know your community: Exits and Fire Extinguishers
Most communities, no matter how large or small, have more than one exit. Depending on where your home is within the community, it will determine your best evacuation route. Once you have settled into your new home, walk around common hallways, stairwells, and exits/entrances. That way you can have a clearly laid out evacuation plan should an emergency occur.
As you are getting to know your community and walking through your evacuation plan, make note of fire extinguisher locations. Not only should you know the location, but you should also know how to properly function a fire extinguisher. No, do not practice in the hallways, but do take it upon yourself to understand how it works!
Did you know? ALL communities managed by The Gallina Companies are SMOKE FREE! Another great fire safety tip, which also helps keep our communities healthy and free of smoke odors.
Overall, an accident is just that, an accident. There is no way to eliminate all potential for accidents, which is why it is important to minimize risks as much as possible. Following the suggested fire safety tips above is a great start!