Apartment and High-Rise Safety

A fire in a high-rise residential building usually can be confined to the apartment where it starts. However, smoke and heat can travel throughout the building, especially upward.High-rise residential buildings are constructed to be fireproof. Most of what is inside the buildings, including your furnishings and belongings, can burn and produce a tremendous amount of heat and smoke, and can be a giant brick oven if not careful.

Garbage and clutter

bullet Never keep garbage or clutter in the hallways
bullet Keep your apartment clean as possible
bullet Never put items in the trash chute that are too big and may get stuck. Things caught in the chute easily can turn a fire in the basement into a fire on your floor.
bullet Be aware of what you put in your apartment. To many flammable items can create a “brick oven” effect if caught: Is it flammable? Is it really necessary?

Follow Proper fire safety tips

bullet Check smoke detectors often.
bullet Don’t overload electrical outlets.
bullet Cook with care
bullet Smoke in designated areas, and don’t smoke in bed.
bullet Make sure that your apartment door is tight fitting and complies with the fire code.
bullet Inspect your exit stair doors. They must be self-closing, snap shut and unlock from both sides. If they don't meet this standard, report it to the superintendent or the Fire Department.


If the fire is in
YOUR apartment
bullet Get everyone out. Stay low as you go out. Close but don't lock all doors in the apartment as you leave. If the building is fire resistant, The fire will stay in the apartment and will not escape, however the apartment will be VERY hot. Get out fast.
bullet Alert others on the floor by knocking on doors.
bullet Activate the fire alarm if there is one.
bullet Go down the nearest STAIRWAY, holding the railing. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR!
bullet Call the Fire Department from a floor BELOW THE FIRE or from a street fire alarm box outside.

If the fire is NOT in your apartment

bullet Stay inside rather than entering smoke-filled hallways, especially if the fire is below your apartment. Most apartment complexes are designed to be fire resistant, and if the fire is near your apartment, then the safest place will be in your apartment.
bullet Keep door closed
bullet Shut off all air conditioning units, for it will suck in smoke from the outside
bullet Seal the door with duct tape or wet sheets and towels. Seal ventilators and any other openings where smoke may enter.
bullet Fill your bathtub with water. If the front door gets hot, wet it down.
bullet Unless flames or smoke are coming from below, open your windows a few inches at the top or bottom. Don't break the windows; they may need to be closed later
bullet Call the Fire Department with your apartment number and a description of the conditions in your apartment. Firefighters will be directed to your location.
bullet If you feel you are in grave danger, open a window and wave a bed sheet for firefighters to spot you.


bullet Know the layout of your floor.
bullet Know the location of stair exits.
bullet Know the number of doors between your apartment and the exit stairs. This is essential knowledge to find the exit in the dark.
bullet Know where your apartment key is located. Take the key with you if you are forced to evacuate.
bullet Know the location of fire alarm boxes (if your building has them.)
bullet Keep flashlights ready and in a handy place.
bullet Install and maintain smoke detectors. Owners of high-rise buildings are required by law to install one detector in each apartment, but its maintenance is up to you.
bullet Report fire hazards to your superintendent. Blocked exits, piled-up trash, missing exit lights and open fire doors are violations of law. If your superintendent doesn't correct them call the Fire Department and report the condition.