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Texas Department of Insurance
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How to check for apartment fire safety

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You found an apartment or high-rise in your price range and the location is great. When you’re checking out the space, take a few minutes to check the fire safety features. And make sure you learn the building evacuation plan.

  1. Does it have a sprinkler system?

    Fire sprinklers not only detect a fire, they also respond immediately while the fire is still small. They often put out the fire before the fire department arrives.

  2. Does it have smoke alarms?

    They should be in the living areas, hallways, and each bedroom. Make sure they're working and test them monthly. You're responsible for replacing the batteries after you move in. If the apartment has an attached garage, a fireplace, or uses natural gas or propane, ask about getting a carbon monoxide detector.

  3. What’s your plan?

    An apartment building or high-rise should have an evacuation plan posted where you can see it. Building management should hold fire drills at least once a year. Be sure to participate in the drills. Know the exits, have an escape plan, and practice until you can do it in your sleep. If anyone you live with can’t get down stairs alone, make a plan to help them.

  4. What if you can’t get out of a high-rise?

    The stairs are the best way out of a high-rise in an emergency. But if there’s smoke or fire in all the stairways, stay in your apartment and wait for firefighters. Call the fire department and report your exact location. Close all doors between you and the fire. Create a seal around door and air vents with towels or duct tape to keep smoke out. Open a window and wave a flashlight or bright cloth outside to help firefighters find you.

  5. Should I break the window in a high-rise?

    No. If there’s smoke in the stairwells and you can’t get out of the building, open a window at the top and bottom to let fresh air in. Don’t break the window. If smoke starts coming in from outside the building, you’ll need to close the window to block the smoke.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

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Last updated: 8/19/2022