Protect Apartment Blocks From Fires in the Winter Months
Whilst fire safety in a residential apartment block is the overall responsible of a building owner and/or manager, the tenants, or residents themselves can contribute greatly to the buildings’, and their own, safety in the event of a fire outbreak.
Here are some common causes of residential fires and some helpful tips to help prevent such events occurring:
The most common place for a fire to start is the Kitchen
Many home fires originate in the kitchen, especially over the winter months, causing extensive property damage and, more frighteningly, claiming many lives. There are some basic rules you can follow though to help minimise these fire outbreaks:
Never leave any cooking equipment unattended – it is all too easy to put something on the stove and then be distracted and forget to watch. Unattended equipment is the single most cause of kitchen fires, so always be mindful of what’s cooking!
Ensure that all kitchen equipment is cleaned and maintained properly – a build up of grease or fat on a cooking surface can lead to a flare-up when lit, so ensure all surfaces are wiped down and any food residue removed after cooking.
Be mindful of what you wear whilst cooking – loose clothing catching alight is not an uncommon occurrence in the kitchen! Make sure, also, that any paper or plastic wrapping or packaging is kept at a safe distance from the heat sources in the kitchen.
ALWAYS ensure that ALL kitchen cooking appliances are turned off before leaving the kitchen and going to bed or if you are leaving your apartment after eating.
Stand alone heaters can be a hazard if not attended to carefully
Many residential apartment buildings have restrictions on the type of heating appliances that can be used by tenants, but not all. The use of stand-alone heaters can prove dangerous if they are left on overnight or unattended in a room for a long period. If using one of these heaters, always ensure they are a safe distance from any furnishings and other potentially flammable materials.
Use diligence when utilising extension cords
During the winter, when we generally spend more time indoors, we all tend to use more electrical appliances and more often – this sometimes necessitates plugging these devices into electrical extension cables. Ensure that you do not overload these extension cords – and always remember to unplug them when leaving a room for the night or going out.
Never leave candles in a room unattended
Many of us like to have romantic evenings whilst the weather rages outside and lighting candles is a favourite way to create a lovely ambience in our homes – however, candles are a potential fire hazard if left to burn unattended. Ensure all candles are extinguished manually before you retire for the evening or leave the building – do NOT let them burn down of their own accord!
Escape plans sound extreme but are essential
Mention of an ‘escape plan’ may sound a little dramatic and something you may see in a movie – but all residential apartment buildings should have an established fire evacuation plan in place and all tenants and residents should be aware of how it works and what they need to do in the event of a fire outbreak. Whilst the flames and heat will cause the most damage to the property itself in a fire situation, it is the smoke inhalation generated that will claim lives – an established and illustrated escape plan will aid the quickest egress from the building for the vulnerable residents.
All residential buildings should be fitted with Fire Doors
A vital feature in fire safety in residential apartment buildings is the presence of appropriate fire doors. All these buildings should be fitted with commercial fire doors manufactured and installed from an accredited fire door company. Fire doors in flats come in different safety categories – FD30 fire doors will contain a fire outbreak for up to 30 minutes, whilst FD60 fire doors will provide the same level of protection for up to 60 minutes halting the spread of flame, heat, and potentially fatal smoke to allow a safe evacuation of the building. These commercial fire doors need to be checked and maintained regularly to ensure that they are fit for purpose at any time should a fire outbreak occur.
Check and maintain fire protection equipment regularly
All residential apartment buildings must have certain fire prevention and fire protection equipment present. It is important that these appliances are regularly checked and maintained – fire alarms systems, fire sprinkler systems, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and blankets should all be installed in the appropriate areas and rooms and be readily accessible and in perfect working order at ALL TIMES!