Fire safety tips for residents of apartment buildings
Fire is one of the most frightening and potentially destructive accidents that could happen in apartment buildings. Escaping one’s home is nerve-wracking enough. Imagine doing this from multiple stories above ground! An apartment building fire emergency can be overwhelming.
There are so many things to take note of when dealing with accidental fires, from plotting out the locations of safety maps to actual evacuation, that it can be hard to know what to do. The team at Safety Maps has compiled a guide below to help you learn some more about dealing with fires in Australia.
What should you do when there is a fire in your apartment building?
As soon as you know that the apartment building is on fire, you must act fast. Here are some of the things you should do when there is a fire in your apartment building – click on each one to find out more:
- Stay calm.
- Inform the authorities.
- Get down low and stay out of smoke.
- Feel the doorknobs before opening the door.
- Avoid all lifts and escalators.
- Go to the nearest stairwell or exit.
- If trapped, call 000 immediately.
Stay calm in an apartment building fire emergency
The more you panic, the higher the chances of making mistakes. It is easy to be anxious when dealing with an apartment building fire. Yet, you should always keep a clear head.
Remember past safety drills and proceed with evacuation. First, recall the emergency signs, safety charts, and evacuation diagrams in the apartment building. Then, come up with a plan of action to get out of the building safely.
Apartment buildings should have smoke sensors that alert authorities of accidental fires. If those are not working, report the fire to the building administration if they have not reached out to other building residents yet.
There is no time to waste when it comes to an apartment building fire emergency. Do not wait and feel out if the fire will spread or not. Do not delay evacuation by collecting items to bring to the evacuation area. The time spent looking for items to save is time a person can use in an evacuation instead.
In worst cases only, pick up an emergency bag, which should be prepared in advance. It must contain IDs, cards, and other necessities.
Note that if the fire is small and manageable, you can try to extinguish the fire if you are confident, otherwise, evacuating immediately is the first option.
Remember that cleaner and cooler air is near the floor during a fire accident. Smoke tends to flow upwards. You will have an easier time breathing if they stay down low. Keep on crawling to prevent smoke inhalation.
If there is fire, try to avoid smoke when you can. During a fire evacuation, do not open doors immediately. Feel the doorknob or handle first. If the knobs and handles are hot, do not open the door. If it is cool, open the door slightly to check if heavy smoke or heat is present.
If there is minimal heat or smoke, evacuate fast while staying low. Should there be heavy smoke or heat, close the door immediately and remain in the room. Call 000 and ask for help from emergency services.
You may think that lifts can be a quick way to get away and evacuate from the fire, but this is the last thing you should do. Most lifts do not have protective measures against fires. As such, a person stuck in a lift during an apartment building fire emergency can easily die from inhaling too much smoke. Only use lifts during a fire evacuation if it is specifically labelled for evacuation use. Otherwise, use emergency exits and fire stairs.
Apartment buildings have safety maps or safety signage that indicates where the nearest exits are stairwells are. After a quick review of the evacuation diagram, head straight to the nearest fire stars or exit.
Do not forget to close the fire stairs door after exiting through it. These doors usually have built-in fire safety mechanisms. As long as these are closed, there is a lower likelihood of fire spreading towards those emergency exits.
If the fire is closing in and people get trapped, they should keep the doors closed and try to seal the cracks. This helps prevent smoke from entering the room. If there is no smoke outside, opening the windows slightly would help.
After airing out the room, call 000 immediately. Then, report one’s room number and floor level. It is also helpful to hang an object out the window to attract the fire department’s attention. Remain calm until the fire department comes to the rescue.
How should you prepare for an apartment building fire emergency?
Preparation is the best way to survive an apartment building fire emergency. These are some of the most vital things to do to prepare for fire accidents in Australian apartment buildings – click on each point to find out more:
- Always take part in fire drills.
- Take note of safety maps and evacuation diagrams.
- Prepare an emergency bag.
- Be proactive in coordinating with the apartment building management team.
- Upgrade your building’s fire preparedness with safety signage from Safety Maps.
Drills may seem like a bother when there is no actual fire. Yet, this is one of the best ways to acquaint oneself with fire evacuation processes, because there is no time to think in an emergency, so you will react faster and more efficiently if you have practised what to do.
These safety signs can be purchased from Safety Maps by clicking here and they will help the stakeholders in the building know where to go during an emergency. All apartment buildings have custom design signage in high traffic areas such as communal hallways and near exits, for compliance and safety reasons. Look at these safety charts from time to time to memorise the details of evacuation.
Finding important documents, money, and cards during a fire will cost a person the time they could have spent evacuating. To avoid running into this issue, prepare an emergency bag that has all these documents ready. It is also good to place a few snacks and a water bottle there just in case.
Should you feel like your apartment building management team is unprepared for emergencies, you should flag your management immediately. The most important factors in apartment building fire safety are the preparedness of the building management team, good evacuation planning, and continuous maintenance and refurbishment work. From placing safety maps to adding fire extinguishers, all apartment buildings must do their best to be ready for accidental fires.
Safety signage and evacuation diagrams are vital elements in a building’s fire preparedness program. If you are an apartment building tenant or manager looking for experienced custom design signage for evacuation in New South Wales, Safety Maps is your best bet. Contact us at 02 8078 0302 or reach out to us at to find out more. Alternatively, click here to send us an online message and we will contact you right back.