Fire Safety Tips For Residents

Here are some helpful tips to ensure your safety in your apartment.

Fire Safety Tips for Apartment Residents

General Guidelines

  • Meet with your landlord or building manager to learn about the fire safety features in your building.
  • Know the locations of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are clearly marked, not locked or blocked by security bars, and clear of clutter.
  • If there is a fire, pull the fire alarm on your way out to notify the fire department and your neighbors.
  • If the fire alarm sounds, feel the door before opening and close all doors behind you as you leave. If it is hot, use another way out. If it is cool, leave by the nearest way out.
  • Use the stairs to get out — never use the elevator unless you are directed to by the fire department.
  • Ordinance 9-1998 (Allan Peifer Smoke Detector Ordinance) requires that you be provided with a working smoke alarm in your apartment or rental home.
  • It is the responsibility of the owner of the property to install a working smoke alarm in all dwelling units that they lease out.
  • It is the responsibility of the resident to maintain the smoke alarm in an operable condition. Remember to test your smoke alarm monthly.

Residential Smoke Detection

  • All new and existing residential buildings are required to have smoke alarms in all sleeping areas, the main hallway leading to the sleeping area, and on each floor of the building.
  • In new construction, all smoke alarms are required to be powered by the building's power source and should have a battery for back-up power in the event of a power failure. For existing buildings, the smoke alarms may be battery-operated only.
  • When smoke alarms are installed on a wall, they are to be installed between four and twelve inches of the corner where the wall meets the ceiling. When they are installed on the ceiling, they should be at least four inches from the wall. If the smoke is too close to the corner it may not sense the smoke in a timely manner. If the alarm is too far down from the ceiling, the smoke alarm may delay in alarming you.
  • It is important to keep smoke alarms away from heating/cooling vents and bathrooms because dust or steam may cause false alarms.
  • A monthly check on smoke alarms should be done to ensure the alarm is working and the battery is charged.
  • The City of Albuquerque smoke alarm ordinance places the responsibility of the smoke alarm installation on the owner of the property. The battery check and replacement is to be done by the person that rents or leases the property.
  • Any person failing to comply with this requirement or removing a smoke alarm, or the battery, can be cited for a misdemeanor punishable by up to ninety days in jail and a $500.00 dollar fine.

Fire Extinguishers

  • A portable Fire extinguisher with at least a 2A10BC rating should be available to every resident.
  • The Albuquerque Fire Department recommends a fire extinguisher be located in every kitchen or cooking location.
  • Every apartment or living unit should have a portable fire extinguisher mounted in the residence.
  • There should be no more than 75’ travel distance between portable fire extinguishers.
  • Management is responsible for ensuring portable fire extinguishers are available to tenants.
  • Portable fire extinguishers should be inspected annually as per NFPA 10, requiring a licensed inspector.
  • Review the Fire Extinguisher Guidelines for more information.

Housekeeping Tips

  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Make sure lint catchers in laundry rooms are lint free.
  • Make sure clothes dryers’ lint hoses are metal, not plastic.
  • Do not block your means of exit with useless clutter.
  • Insist your apartment management develops and follows an evacuation plan.
  • In case of emergency, always follow managements evacuation procedure.

Create an Emergency Plan

Make sure that all family members know what to do if they are home and a disaster strikes:
  • Decide where the "safe spots" are in your home for each type of disaster. For example, if a tornado warning occurs, should the family head for the basement (or a bathroom or closet, if your house is on a concrete slab)?
  • Teach everyone two escape routes for each room. If necessary, for younger children, put a picture by each window or door that will be used for this purpose. Practice emergency evacuation drills at least twice a year.
  • Show all members how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity. Make sure everyone knows where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near telephones and show children how to call 911.
  • Have a battery-operated radio available with instructions on listening for emergency information.
  • Make sure that your important family records are in a water- and fire-proof container. A relatively small, portable safe should be sufficient. You can purchase this item at any office supply company or online.
Have a plan to unite family members if they are separated when a disaster occurs:
  • Arrange with two relatives or friends - one local and one out-of-state - to be a central check-in source, and make sure their phone numbers are taught to younger children.
  • Pick two places to meet if it is not possible to return to your home. One should be near your home in case there is a fire and the other should be outside your local area in case the disaster is more widespread, such as in a flood.
  • If you have pets, find out in advance whether they will be allowed in public shelters and if not, make alternate arrangements for boarding them.
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit or "Go Bag." These are supplies that you should be prepared to take with you in case of an evacuation. They can be kept in a duffle bag, large backpack, or suitcase with rolling wheels:
  • Include one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days as well as a supply of non-perishable or canned food and a manual can opener. Check your go bag periodically to make sure that these items have not expired.
  • Have a change of clothing including rain gear and sturdy shoes for each person. If anyone wears glasses, include an extra pair.
  • Pack blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Make sure to have a supply of all prescription medications as well as a first-aid kit. Have family doctor contact information on hand.
  • Include a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, flashlights and a supply of appropriate batteries.
  • Make a list of important family information.
  • If you have an infant or if any family members are elderly or disabled, make sure that special items they may need are included.