At the bottom of this page is a copy of the Fire Safety Notice that should be visible in people’s multiple dwelling buildings. It outlines what to do in case of a fire. Print this out and go over it with your kids, especially if your kids are home by themselves at times.
To be very thorough, your building should have a register of who has pets as part of our contact list. You can also order a safety pack from the ASPCA website that has a sticker to alert people that there are pets inside.
Here’s a link to a document with a basic fire escape plan:
These resources come from the National Fire Protection Association, which has some great starting points for creating your home fire escape plan.
It's natural for kids (and adults!) to feel anxious when talking about fire escape plans. Tread lightly, but be sure to practice the plan with your kids and emphasize its importance. One PSP member shared their method for talking about fire safety with their children:
"We basically discussed with the kids what would happen if they heard a fire alarm at night (try and leave through the door, if you can't leave through your door, try and leave through a window, what to do if you can't leave through either). And then we practiced! They pretended they were asleep, we set the alarm off and walked through what they should do. My older son knows how to open the window and both know how to unlock the front door. We talked about different scenarios , kept it light, and they wanted to do it A LOT. I think it just made me feel better to know my husband was going to them, I was going to the baby, we were meeting at X spot, and that someone in their room could open a window or door). And then I checked all the alarms again."
Have young kids? As you deal with children from ages one to four, it's probably just as important to teach the parents to develop good fire safety habits, as well as teaching their kids about fire safety. However, it's never too young to start teaching them and developing a fire exit plan. Children are smarter than we give them credit for and they learn quickly, especially if you make it fun for them.
More tips on safety and fire preparedness...
Have a smoke detector in every bedroom, the hallway leading to the bedrooms, the living room, and a heat or smoke detector in the kitchen. They're cheap, won't break the bank, and proven to save lives.
Change your smoke detector batteries twice a year. An easy way to remember is to change them when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends. Check the detectors once a month to make sure they're still fully operational.
Sleep with your bedroom door closed, as smoke is usually more dangerous than fire.
Don't leave the kitchen while cooking. Unattended cooking causes more fires than any other single item.
Know how to unlock your window safety bars in case of a fire.
Here are some more fire safety tips specifically for those living in apartments.
Prepared means less of a chance for panic!
IN THE EVENT OF FIRE, STAY CALM. NOTIFY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT ANDFOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF FIRE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL. IF YOU MUST TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION, USE YOUR JUDGMENT AS TO THE SAFEST COURSE OF ACTION, GUIDED BY THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
YOU ARE IN A NON-COMBUSTIBLE (FIREPROOF) BUILDING
If The Fire Is In Your Apartment:
- Close the door to the room where the fire is and leave the apartment.
- Make sure EVERYONE leaves the apartment with you.
- Take your keys.
- Close, but do not lock, the apartment door.
- Alert people on your floor by knocking on their doors on your way to the exit.
- Use the nearest stairwell to leave the building.
- DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.
- Call 911 once you reach a safe location. Do not assume the fire has been reported
- unless firefighters are on the scene.
- Meet the members of your household at a pre-determined location outside the building.
- Notify the firefighters if anyone is unaccounted for.
If The Fire Is Not In Your Apartment:
- Stay inside your apartment and listen for instructions from firefighters unless conditions become dangerous.
- If you must exit your apartment, first feel the apartment door and doorknob for heat.
- If they are not hot, open the door slightly and check the hallway for smoke, heat or fire.
- If you can safely exit your apartment, follow the instructions above for a fire in your apartment.
- If you cannot safely exit your apartment or building, call 911 and tell them your address, floor, apartment number and the number of people in your apartment.
- Seal the doors to your apartment with wet towels or sheets, and seal air ducts or other openings where smoke may enter.
- Open windows a few inches at top and bottom unless flames and smoke are coming from below.
- Do not break any windows.
- If conditions in the apartment appear life-threatening, open a window and wave a towel or sheet to attract the attention of firefighters.
- If smoke conditions worsen before help arrives, get down on the floor and take short breaths through your nose. If possible, retreat to a balcony or terrace away from the source of the smoke, heat or fire.