Multiple amenities in the buildings to ease life comes with a life threatening badge. To overcome these situations, here are some measures that need to kept in mind for safe escape:
Make a fire safety plan
Just like residents of single-family homes or low-rise apartment buildings, high-rise dwellers should have a home fire safety plan. Meet with neighbors on your floor to coordinate how you would evacuate and help each other, Willette says. Know where the exits are, and mark them on your plan, the NFPA recommends.
Meet with management
Ask your building manager or landlord to hold a fire safety meeting to inform residents about the building’s fire safety features and evacuation procedures, the NFPA recommends. For example, find out if an automatic system will dial 911, or if you need to make a call, Willette says. If the building doesn’t have a full fire sprinkler system, ask your landlord to consider adding this life-saving safety feature. And always participate in fire drills to practice for a real fire.
Establish an assembly area
Each building should have a designated place of refuge, a spot where occupants who are unable to reach safety on their own can wait for rescuers. These spaces may be located as stand-alone compartments on a floor, or they might be oversized landings in stairwells, according to the NFPA. Scope out this space ahead of time in case you need to find it during a fire, Willette says.
Know how to escape a high-rise fire
A fire in a high-rise building is a little different from one in a single-family home. Here’s what to do if a blaze breaks out:
- Heed the alarm. If a fire alarm sounds in your building, don’t assume it’s a false alarm or that you can wait to see what happens. Treat it as a real emergency.
- See if it’s safe to evacuate. If you’re behind a closed door in your apartment, condo or workplace, check for heat, Willette says. If the door and door handle are cool, open the door slowly. If smoke pushes in, close the door and stay in your apartment.
- Call emergency numbers to let rescuers know where you are, and put a brightly colored towel or sheet in the window as a signal to firefighters, he says. While you wait, seal vents and cracks under doors with duct tape or towels and open (but don’t break) windows if you can.
- Take the stairs. If there’s no smoke, or there’s light smoke you can crawl underneath, go to the stairwell to exit, Willette says. Never use the elevator in a fire. Elevators can malfunction and trap people between floors — or take the car right to the floor of the fire, Willette says. At that point, he says, “There’s no escape.”
- Head to a refuge place. If you are disabled, elderly, sick or otherwise unable to evacuate, go to the designated place of refuge and wait for help from firefighters.
- Avoid the balcony. Unless your apartment is filled with smoke and you have no other option, don’t go out on your balcony.