Apartment Building Fires

If there is a fire in your apartment:

  • Tell everyone in your apartment to leave.
    Close all doors behind you.
  • Pull the fire alarm on your floor and yell fire.
    Leave the building using the nearest stairway.
    Once outside, call the fire department by dialing 911.
  • Meet the firefighters at the front entrance and tell them where the fire is.
  • When you hear the fire alarm the decision is yours: stay or go?
  • Most of the time the best thing to do is to leave the building, right away but in some cases you may not be able to leave and you may have to stay in your apartment. In either case you must act quickly. No matter what your decision you must protect yourself from the smoke.
  • Decide and act quickly.

If you decide to leave the building

  • Check the door to your apartment. If smoke is entering from around the door, do not open it. Protect yourself from smoke inside your apartment. If there is no smoke, brace yourself and open the door a little. If you see smoke or feel heat, close the door quickly and protect yourself. If the corridor is clear, take your keys, lock your door, and go to the nearest stairway.
  • Do not use the elevator. Open the nearest stairway door carefully. If there is no smoke, use the stairway to leave the building. If there is smoke, do not enter. Close the door. Go to another stairway and open the door carefully. If there is no smoke here, use this stairway to leave the building. If there is smoke, do not enter. If there are other stairways, try them. If there are not, return to your apartment and protect yourself from smoke.

If you remain in your apartment

  • You must protect yourself from smoke. Stay in your apartment until you are rescued or until you are told to leave. This may take a long time. Do not try to leave your apartment a long time after the alarm has sounded. The longer you wait, the more risk there is that heavy smoke will have spread into stairways and corridors. Your chances of survival are less. Keep smoke from entering your apartment. Use duct tape to seal cracks around the door and place wet towels at the bottom. Seal vents or air ducts the same way.
  • If smoke enters your apartment telephone the fire department, tell them where you are and then move to the balcony. Close the doors behind you. If you don't have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room, close the door and seal it with tape and towels. Open the window for fresh air. Show your rescuers where you are by hanging a sheet from the window or balcony. Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner. Listen for instructions from authorities.

Remember fire safety begins with you. Find out about fire safety in your building. For more information to help you survive a fire, ask your building management or the fire department.