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Fire Safety Tips for Apartment Buildings

apartment fire safety
These fire safety tips will help keep apartment residents safe – and building owners compliant with the NYC fire code.

While individual apartments (or co-ops or condos) have the same risk of fire as a single-family home, close proximity to other units makes apartment fires especially dangerous. Flames, smoke and heat can spread throughout the building. As a result, fires can not only cause extensive damage, but also threaten the safety of all occupants.

New York City Fire Code requires owners of residential apartment buildings with three or more units to develop a fire safety plan that includes basic fire safety tips and information about the building, including type of construction, fire safety systems and emergency exits.

In addition, building owners are required to do the following:

  • Post the fire safety plan on the inside of every unit’s front door
  • Display the plan prominently in the common area
  • Distribute a copy of the plan to each apartment
  • Provide a copy of the plan to new tenants upon signing the lease
  • Re-distribute the plan each year during fire prevention week

Fire Safety Tips

The following tips can help prevent fires in an apartment building:

  • Maintain at least one operable smoke alarm in each unit.
  • Keep at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm in each apartment. (New York City requires installing CO detectors within 15 feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping area.)
  • Check electrical cords to ensure they are 1) in good condition (not frayed or cracked) and 2) in the open, not covered by rugs or running through doorways.
  • Do not store flammable products, such as gasoline, in an apartment.
  • Position space heaters at least three feet from flammable items and plug them directly into wall sockets—not extension cords.
  • Ensure security gates are approved by the New York City Fire Department. These gates open without the use of a key or special tool.
  • Make sure the fire escape window is clear and unobstructed. (The same holds true for the fire escape itself.)
  • Keep building stairways clear. Don’t use these areas to store rubbish or household items.

For more information, the New York City Fire Department publishes educational resources to promote fire safety. You can also test your fire safety knowledge with this quiz.

Landlord / Building Insurance Quote

If you own a three-story building with a fire escape, you qualify for a new discounted insurance program. Call us at 877-576-5200 to learn how much you can save, or if you would like a free insurance review.

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