Fire Safety & Prevention in Your Apartment Complex

Posted by Alzbeta Berka on April 16th, 2022

In Residential Communities, proper fire safety mechanism and equipments are extremely important to prevent loss of life and damage to property. In an apartment complex, as residential units are built very close to each other, risk associated is also very high.

Fire Safety: Some Basics

Broadly there are 2 methods adopted in the industry to prevent, control and extinguish Fire. These methods use the following types of systems:

Active Systems: These are engineered systems using various media for detecting and extinguishing fires manually or automatically.

Passive Systems: These are systems built into the structure of a building to contain and limit the spread of fire. These systems compartmentalise a building through the use of fire-resistance rated walls and floors, keeping the fire from spreading quickly and providing time to escape for people in the building. These aspects are taken care of in the design of the apartment complex.

Active Systems can be broadly classified in to the following:

Fire Detection Systems: Fire generates smoke, heat and flame and detection systems are designed to detect any of these elements or a combination of these elements by using Sensors or Detectors specifically manufactured for detecting these elements.

Fire Fighting Systems: These systems are designed and engineered to actively fight and extinguish fire either manually or automatically. These systems use a variety of media. Choice of media is determined by the nature and type of combustible material causing the fire.

For Association members, things to keep in mind regarding Fire Safety of an Apartment Complex:

As an Association member its important that you know and understand all fire systems installed in your apartment complex.

Conduct joint inspections with other association members, volunteers from the society and the apartment manager to verify all systems are in normal operating status. If discrepancies are found, record the same and initiate corrective action.

Be aware and familiarize yourself with the guidelines and requirements of National Building Code for Fire Drills and Evacuation Procedures for High Rise Buildings.

Precautions to be taken towards Fire Safety in your Apartment Complex

Get your property and valuables insured

Consider getting insurance against fire and other calamities. There are insurance policies which provides complete protection for property and contents. These insurance provides cover against loss from fire, burglary, theft, earthquakes and other natural calamities.

Be aware of emergency contacts around your apartment complex

Have emergency contacts like fire department, hospitals (specially ambulance service) handy. Save them in your mobile and tag them properly, so that you can easily find these numbers during an emergency.

Install and Maintain Proper Fire Detection Systems in your Apartment Complex

Fire detection systems like smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of the apartment building. Smoke alarms should be tested at least twice a year. The smoke alarm should be tested using the test device located on the smoke alarm or any other test method recommended by the manufacturer. Do a visual check to ensure that the smoke alarm is securely fastened to the ceiling or wall and it is not obstructed in any manner. Check that the batteries are not leaking and are securely fastened. The batteries should anyways be changed once or twice a year. It should be cleaned by a regular household vacuum cleaner in regular intervals. Check the users manual for details on after how many years you should look for a replacing the device.

Make sure that a clear Building Evacuation Plan is in place and the residents are aware of it

Each floor should have clearly marked escape route. The fire exits should be marked clearly. Its always a good practice to have more than one fire exit route which residents can take in case the primary route is blocked. Evacuation plans are best placed in lobbies, beside lifts, around notice boards, where usually there is high footfall. Also, have the safe assembly areas clearly marked so that it makes it easy to spot during emergencies.

Have regular Fire Safety Sessions and Fire Drills

Fire systems familiarisation sessions and drills should be held once every six months so that residents know how to use the fire fighting devices and are also aware of the safety rules, evacuation plans and safety processes which are implemented in your apartment complex.

Do\'s and Don\'t During a Fire Related Emergency

Urgently call the Fire Department and also an Ambulance.

Alert all family members and quickly move them towards the fire exit

Do not use lift.

When evacuating the building, be sure to feel doors for heat before opening them to be sure there is no fire danger on the other side.

If there is smoke in the air, stay low to the ground, especially your head, to reduce inhalation exposure. Keep one hand on the wall to prevent disorientation and crawl to the nearest exit.

If you are trapped in your room or building during fire try to stop smoke and fire getting into your room by using towels, blankets or spare cloths to block the gaps in the door.

If you catch fire on your clothes then stop, do panic or run. It will make it burn faster and lead to more injuries or burn. Dropping on the ground and rolling can help extinguish the fire.

Try to use the nearest extinguisher and douse the fire. However, do not use an extinguisher if you are not sure what caused the fire, as different combustible material requires different type of extinguishers. Also, if the fire is too big and spreading very fast, then its best to move towards a safe assembly point outside the building and wait for fire department to arrive.

About Author:

The author of this article, Luis Senon, makes people familiar with the advantages of using the Busbar trunking systemand the Electrical & Fire Safety Design in Bangladesh

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Alzbeta Berka

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Alzbeta Berka
Joined: November 15th, 2016
Articles Posted: 56

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