As a homeowner, there are plenty of risks to your apartment and many ways to keep your apartment safe, but there's nothing more terrifying than a fire. But when you live in an apartment, there's an even greater risk of a fire happening since there are so many elements to consider beyond your own home, not to mention factors like longer exit times, evacuation protocols, fire and smoke movement, etc.

apartment fire alarm


It's always important to remember that, unlike an individual home, fires can spread rapidly through the entire building and potentially trap you inside. That's why it's so important to be proactive about fire safety in your apartment.


Here are the top things you can do to keep your apartment safe from fire.


Talk to the Apartment Owner/Builder/Manager

The first thing to do is speak to the building owner or manager and find out if residents have been screened. Even if you are proactive about fire safety and respect all the fire safety requirements, that's not to say that every other tenant will. Some of the most devastating apartment fires have been caused by careless smoking or other risky behavior from other residents. Next, inquire about the fire alarm, smoke detector, and sprinkler systems that are installed throughout the apartment, including the recreational areas, laundry rooms, and so on. By law, all apartments are required to have a working fire alarm system, but it's always a good idea to inquire about the specific details of your building's system. How often are the alarms tested? Are the sprinklers in working order? Do all the units have smoke detectors? It's also important to know the building's evacuation plan in case of a fire. Lastly, check if every floor and common area has a working fire extinguisher or a fire fighting system like a hose and water connection.


Ask to see the buildings Fire Safety Plan

All apartment buildings are required to have an evacuation plan that is specific to that building. The plan should outline the fire alarm system, sprinklers, and other fire safety features of the building as well as the best way to evacuate in case of a fire. As a tenant, you can make sure that every other resident in the building is aware of the plan and knows what to do in the event of an emergency. You can also work with the building manager to form special resident teams that are responsible for specific tasks in the event of a fire. Doing so will not only reduce the burden on the fire department but will also ensure that all residents are participating in the overall fire safety and readiness of the building.


Mitigate Electrical Risks & Hazards

According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires are one of the leading causes of apartment fires. To reduce the risk of an electrical fire, make sure that all electrical outlets in your apartment are up to code and that you're not overloading outlets by plugging in too many devices. If you see any signs of frayed wires or other electrical hazards, report it to the building manager immediately. Another way to reduce the risk of an electrical fire is to be mindful of how you use extension cords. If you must use them, make sure they are not damaged in any way and that they are not running under carpets or furniture where they can overheat. Avoid using multiple adapters and extension cords as well, as this can also lead to overheating and fires.


Be Careful When Cooking

Cooking is the leading cause of apartment fires, so it's important to be extra careful when cooking in your apartment. Never leave food unattended on the stove, and if you have to step away for any reason, turn off the stove. It's also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of an accident. When using the oven, be sure to check that the appliance is clean and free of any grease or food buildup. A build-up of grease and food can easily catch fire, so it's important to keep your oven clean. In addition, never leave the oven door open when not in use as this can also be a fire hazard.


Be Mindful of Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of apartment fires, so it's important to be mindful of where you smoke and to dispose of cigarettes properly. Never smoke in bed, on the couch, or in any other areas where there is a risk of falling asleep and leaving a lit cigarette unattended. If you smoke inside your apartment, be sure to use a deep ashtray that can't be easily knocked over. When disposing of cigarettes, douse them in water before throwing them away.


Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat Sources

It's important to keep any flammable materials, such as curtains, towels, and clothing, away from heat sources like radiators, space heaters, and candles. These materials can easily catch fire if they are too close to a heat source, so it's important to be aware of the potential risks. If you have any items that are particularly flammable, such as aerosols or cleaning supplies, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place away from any heat sources.


Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of an apartment fire is to install and maintain smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can provide an early warning in the event of a fire, giving you and your family time to evacuate the apartment. Be sure to test your smoke alarms monthly to ensure that they are working properly. It's also a good idea to keep spare batteries on hand in case the batteries need to be replaced.


Have an Evacuation Plan

In the event of a fire, it's important to have an evacuation plan in place so that everyone in the apartment knows what to do. Make sure all family members are aware of the building's evacuation routes and designate a meeting place outside of the building where everyone can meet up after evacuating. Practice your evacuation plan regularly so that everyone is familiar with the steps that need to be taken in the event of a fire.


Know How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

If a fire does break out in your apartment, it's important to know how to use a fire extinguisher so that you can extinguish the fire quickly. Be sure to read the instructions on the fire extinguisher before attempting to use it. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire and discharge it until the fire is extinguished. If the fire does not appear to be extinguished, evacuate the apartment immediately and call 911.


Call 911 Immediately

If you discover a fire in your apartment, it's important to call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to fight the fire yourself, as this can be extremely dangerous. Once you have called 911, evacuate the apartment immediately and wait for firefighters to arrive. Do not try to re-enter the apartment until the fire has been extinguished and it is safe to do so.


Ensure that Professional Fire Alarm Systems and Monitoring is available

One of the best ways to protect your apartment from fire is to install a professional fire alarm control panel with around-the-clock fire alarm monitoring. These systems are designed to detect fires quickly and alert the authorities so that they can respond quickly. Many fire alarm systems also come with features like smoke detectors and sprinklers, which can further help to reduce the risk of an apartment fire.

These are just a few of the many steps that you can take to help prevent an apartment fire. By following these tips, you can help to keep your apartment safe and reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.