A 2014 survey, conducted by the American Red Cross, demonstrated that only less than 1 in 5 families (18%) with dependent minors have actually practiced home fire drills. This is a staggeringly low percentage, reflective a willingness to disregard and undermine the dangers associated with fire.
For renters, though, there is additional risk in assuming that the landlord has implemented all the necessary fire recognition tools. It is true that your building’s management is responsible to ensure that all safety facilities are in place in the event of a fire, but you also have a role to play. When it comes to your safety and security, being conscious of and engaging in the following practices really goes a long way.
Escape Plan: When renting out a place, be conscious of your evacuation. Your unit should have two exits, and, similarly, the building should have unobstructed paths leading outside. Most importantly, you must designate a point to meet with family and friends that is a safe distance away from the danger zone. Practice your evacuation plan to perfect it several times during the year.
Smoke Detectors: In some cases, a smoke detector provides the only alarm signal of nearby fire or smoke, fortunately alerting authorities. Do not turn them off or ignore your devices. Frequently test your smoke detectors — at least monthly — to ensure that they are in perfect working condition. This should also be the first thing you do upon moving into a new home. In the case that you’re without a smoke detector, ask your landlord to install one. Your local fire department may also be willing to help you install one.
Fire Extinguisher: Extinguishers can be of great significance in suppressing small household fires. An ‘ABC ‘ dry chemical extinguisher capable of suppressing all household fires can be a great investment in the long run.
Cigarette Smoking: One of the leading causes of death in America is smoking in bed. Dropped sparks or embers could potentially ignite fires. Experts advise to smoke outside rather than indoors: your building should have a designated smoking area. You can ask for one if that’s not the case.
Candles: Since candles provide a desirable smell and mood, most find them irresistible. Under the wrong conditions, however, they could ignite a flame. Make sure to, first, place the candle in a steady holder, steering clear of all flammable objects, and, second, put out the candle before dozing off.
Space Heaters: As a source of extra heating, space heaters are great. Beyond that, however, they can become a fire hazard. To avoid fire threats, follow the instructions in your user manual. Do not leave your equipment on while asleep, and keep your equipment away from flammable objects such as books and papers.
Gas Leaks: Leaks can ignite explosions. If you detect a leak, immediately call the fire department and air out your apartment by opening all windows and doors. Do not light a cigarette, match, your gas stove, or anything else flammable. Exit your unit, and wait for the fire department to arrive outdoors.
Protection: A thought that can be a source of anxiety is how to keep your belongings safe in case of emergencies. Fortunately, there are renter’s insurances out there, easily obtainable from local insurance companies. In most fire cases, landlords do not cover missing or damaged property. Obtaining a renter’s insurance will alleviate your financial stress and burdens in case of an accident.
You can also protect your valuables by investing in a fireproof safe. Fire proof safes can keep your important documents and heirlooms safe if there is a fire in your home.