Apartment Safety

Apartment Walk Through & Inspection

Don't be alarmed if you see a fire truck at your apartment complex. The Fire Department visits every apartment complex to perform annual walk-through inspections. The purpose of this program is to familiarize firefighters with apartment complexes in case of an emergency. While firefighters walk through apartment complexes they look for code violations and distribute apartment safety brochures.

Apartment Fire Safety Checklist

In the United States, apartment fires number about 300 a day. How fire safe is your apartment? Have your entire family study the following questions and check for fire hazards around your apartment. Every "No" points to a fire hazard or a potential fire problem.

Matches and Careless Smoking Hazards

  • Do you make sure matches and smoking materials are extinguished before disposing of them?
  • Is "no smoking in bed" a rule in your apartment?
  • Do you keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and teach older kids to use them safely?

Electrical Hazards

  • Are extension and appliance cords checked frequently to ensure they are not worn or frayed?
  • Are electrical cords in the open - not under rugs, through doorways or partitions?
  • Are irons, curling irons or similar appliances unplugged when not in use?

Housekeeping Hazards

  • Do you keep your storage area and closets cleared of rags, papers, mattresses, broken furniture and other combustibles?
  • If you store paint, varnish, etc., do you keep containers tightly closed?
  • Do you make sure no gasoline or other highly flammable liquids are stored in your apartment?

Heating and Cooking Hazards

  • Gas and oil heaters use oxygen as they burn. Do you always keep a window slightly open when such a heater is in use?
  • Do you make sure portable heaters are placed at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding, furniture and other combustible materials?
  • Are the gas connections for portable heaters or other gas appliances made of metal?
  • Do you use your Barbeque grill a safe distance away from the building? (Must not be stored on decks.)
  • If a grease fire starts on your stove does your family know not to use water to put it out, but to either smother the fire by covering the pot with a lid or to use a dry chemical type extinguisher?
  • Does your family know an oven fire can be extinguished by closing the oven door and turning off the heat, or by using a dry chemical type extinguisher?
  • Is your kitchen range, including oven and broiler, kept clean? Do your family's cooking habits include not leaving cooking food unattended and keeping pot handles turned in from the edge of the stove?
  • Are you careful when handling hot grease or water especially when young children are present?

Fire Equipment

Apartment building owners are legally required to provide and maintain a smoke detector in each unit.

  • Does your apartment have at least one detector installed? Is it tested and maintained regularly following manufacturer's recommendations?
  • You are required to report a faulty smoke detector to your landlord, and they are required to repair or replace it within 24 hours of your call.
  • Do you have access to at least 1 fire extinguisher listed or approved by a nationally recognized fire testing laboratory for use on all types of fires? (Usually in central hallways.)
  • Do you exit the building immediately if the fire alarm system sounds? It is against the law to tamper with any required fire equipment in a building.

Fire Escape Hazards

  • Do you keep your fire escape route clear? Does each sleeping area have an unobstructed, operable window large enough for escape?
  • Do you use approved window gates (security bars that don't need a key to open) on windows leading to fire escapes?
  • Does your family know they should use stairways, not elevators, to exit the apartment building in case of fire?
  • Are exits well marked, and is emergency lighting, if provided, working? Are fire doors in hallways and stairways kept closed?
  • Do you avoid using combustible materials on balconies or in hallways, stairways or furnace rooms?

Information for Parents

  • Do you leave a responsible person with your children when you go out, even for a little while?
  • When you employ babysitters, do you instruct them on what to do in case of fire or injury?
  • A child learns by example as well as by instruction. In regard to fire safety, do you always set a good example? Have you taught your children the recommended procedure for extinguishing clothes on fire (stop, drop and roll)?
  • Get help for children who play with fire, call Fire Prevention at 763-767-6429.

In Case of Fire

  • Do you know the location of the fire alarm pull station nearest your apartment?
  • Do you have a list of emergency telephone numbers posted near the phone?
  • Have you worked out an escape plan from every room in your apartment, especially bedrooms?
  • Have you practiced your escape plan by holding fire drills?

Other Considerations

  • Are you satisfied your apartment is safe from fire?