While it may be simple to develop a fire escape plan for a house as it is usually not the size of a tall building. Apartment buildings on the other hand, can be more complex and will require detailed planning in order to ensure everyone’s safety. When planning for a fire in a large building, it is important to know at least two ways to get out while frequently practicing them both. But do keep in mind that sometimes it is safer to stay in the room and wait for help if it is already too dangerous to escape. Be sure to practice the following when developing and practicing your fire escape plan:
- Know and memorize the plan step-by-step. Knowing exactly what to do and how to do it is most important during times of emergency. For apartment buildings, an evacuation plan is usually provided by the building and posted where all residents are able to review it. Also, be sure to participate in any fire drills so that you aware of exactly how to proceed if a real fire were to occur. One thing to keep in mind if you have not already found an apartment is to ask if there are automatic sprinkler systems within the building as they can put out the flames before the fire department arrives.
- Stay low. Naturally, heat will rise to the ceiling, along with the smoke that is generated by the flames. To avoid breathing it in, stay as low to the ground as possible. Ensure that all young children are aware of this rule as it has saved countless lives in the past. But if you find that the stairs are on fire, stay on your floor and wait for the fire department to arrive.
- Practice, practice, practice. The larger the building, the more important it is to practice the fire plan until it is perfected. Ensure that all residents are aware of the plan and know exactly how to proceed in the event that you become separated. If you have a visual escape plan, mark your location and escape route so that everyone can follow it accordingly. Also mark more than one stairway in case one is blocked off by the flames.
- Always avoid the elevator. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is extremely important as the power can go out at any time. Always use the stairway and have a plan for someone that has difficulty with steps.
- Block the doorway if necessary. In the event that a fire does occur, sometimes it is safer to stay in the building than to evacuate. If all emergency exits are blocked, seal yourself in a room that is furthest away from the fire, preferably one with a window. Close the door and seal the space between it and the floor. Use duct tape to cover the air vents to prevent as much smoke from entering as possible.
- Stay close to the window. Open the window as wide as possible to allow as much fresh air in as possible. Do not break the window as smoke from the outside may still enter from a lower part of the building.
- Signal to the firefighter. Do whatever you can to let the firefighters know where you are in the building. Open a window and wave a white towel, shirt, or other piece of fabric. If it is dark outside, use a flashlight instead. The faster they know your whereabouts, the quicker they are able to help you escape.
- Call for professional restoration cleanup. As soon as everyone has safely evacuated the building, it is then important to save the building itself. In order to limit the damage, time, and costs in repairs, be sure to call a fire damage restoration company immediately. The professionals will arrive right away to limit the spread of the damage and quickly begin the cleanup process.
Professional Fire Damage Restoration
While it is most important to ensure the safety of all residents of the apartment building, the flames must be extinguished right away to prevent as much damage as possible. The smoke must also be cleared as it is known for causing the most destruction. However, this can only be done by fire restoration professionals. When it comes to restoration professionals, ServiceMaster is one of the most trusted companies in the nation. Their fire and smoke cleanup experts will ensure that all building materials have been restored both effectively and efficiently. They can even help you save thousands of dollars in repair costs when called right away. Finally, be sure to call them as soon as everyone has safely evacuated the building in order to save as much of the structure and personal belongings as possible.