Fire Safety Reminders and Tips from MRG and FDNYMay 20, 2022
Fire Safety Reminders and Tips
In light of recent unfortunate fire-related tragedies that have taken place in multi-family residential building settings, we wanted to emphasize the importance of residents taking the necessary time to carefully review the fire safety information attached hereto in order to familiarize and educate yourselves, your household and your household employees with these essential life-saving protocols/tips.
In addition, please note the following other important reminders:
- The public halls and stairwells are the direct means of ingress to and egress from the apartments in the event of a fire or other emergency. As such, these areas must be kept free and clear, at all times, of any obstacles and/or obstructions.
- All fire stairwell doors are designed to be self-closing and are to be kept closed at all times. As such, please ensure that the door closes fully after each use. While these elements are regularly inspected to ensure proper functionality, nevertheless, if you notice a door that is not closing and engaging properly, or is blocked open, please report it to building staff immediately.
- All apartment entrance doors are designed to be self-closing and are to be kept closed at all times. As such, please ensure that the door closes fully after use. If you notice that your door is not closing and engaging properly, please report it to building staff immediately.
- Please make a schedule to inspect all smoke (and CO) detectors twice yearly for proper functionality. Any detectors found to be in disrepair, should be immediately replaced.
We thank you all in advance for your diligence and cooperation regarding this important matter.
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions and/or concerns that you may have. Thank you.
Residential Apartment Building Fire Safety From FDNY
Fire safety begins in your own apartment! Is your family fire safe? Protect yourself, your family and your neighbors.
There are special areas of concern when it comes to fire safety in apartment buildings. Families in apartment buildings live close together; affecting each other’s risks associated with fire. While the chances of a fire starting in an apartment are about the same as in a private home, apartment fires have the potential to spread fire, heat and smoke throughout the building affecting the safety of all occupants.
1. KNOW YOUR EXITS
There must be two means of egress (exits) from your apartment building.
Your primary or first exit is your apartment door that leads into either an unenclosed (not separated by walls and doors) stairway or through a public hallway to an enclosed stairway that leads to the street.
Your secondary exit should be one of the follow- ing, depending upon the building’s date of construction that also leads directly or indirectly (through a yard) to the street level:
- an additional enclosed stairway accessible from the public hallway. (newer buildings)
- an enclosed fire tower (stairway accessible from the public hallway)
- an outside fire-escape accessible from within your apartment through a window or door.
2. KEEP YOUR EXITS CLEAR AND WORKING
- Properly maintained fire doors and exits will greatly reduce your chance of being killed or injured in a fire in your building
- Maintain your apartment door or doors lead- ing into the public hall or vestibule as fireproof and self-closing. (tampering with the self-closing hinge or blocking the self-closing of such door is illegal)
- Make sure your apartment door lock can be opened from the inside with a thumb turn. (without the use of a key).
- Maintain doors leading from the public hallway into the stairway or fire tower as fireproof and self-closing. (again, tampering with the self-closing hinge or blocking the self-closing of such door is illegal.)
- Keep stairways and outside fire escapes free of obstructions at all times. Do not store anything such as baby strollers, bicycles, or rubbish on or under stairways or on stairway landings.
3. SECURITY VS. FIRE SAFETY
Window Security Gates
Some people install security bars or gates on their apartment windows to prevent intruders from entering their home. However, in the event of a fire, doing so may trap you and your family, as well as inhibit firefighter rescue.
If your apartment building has an outside fire escape, only New York City Fire Department approved security gates that open without the use of a key may be installed on the fire escape window. This requirement also applies to any secondary exit window on the grade level. Installation of an unapproved gate is strictly prohibited in NYC.
FDNY-approved gates do not require the use of a tool, a key, or special effort to open. When purchasing a security gate be sure that it is stamped or labeled with the FDNY approval number.
After installing an approved security gate, make sure everyone in your home can operate the release devices.
Remember to keep the fire escape window clear of all obstructions such as furniture, plants and air conditioners
Child Safety Window Guards
The New York City Health Code requires owners of multiple dwellings to install child safety window guards when a child ten years old or younger lives in the apartment. The window guards are small barriers installed to protect children from falling out of the windows.
However, to help ensure your safety during a fire, these guards must not be installed on your fire escape window.
4. KNOW YOUR WAY OUT
Owners of residential apartment buildings with three or more dwelling units are required by the NYC Fire Code to develop a Fire Safety Plan specific for their building. The plan must contain basic fire safety tips, and information about the building including the type of construction, the types of fire safety systems and the different ways of exiting the building in case of fire or evacuation.
The owner is required by law to:
- post the fire safety plan on the inside of every apartment's front door. D post the fire safety plan in a conspicuous space in the common area. D distribute a copy to each dwelling unit in the building.
- provide a copy to new tenants at the time of the lease.
- re-distribute the fire safety plan annually during fire prevention week.
5. SHOULD YOU STAY OR SHOULD YOU GO?
AIf the fire IS IN your apartment, regardless of construction type,
- Get everyone out. Stay low as you go.
- Use your safest and most accessible exit.
- CLOSE ALL DOORS as you leave.
- If using an interior stairway, alert people on your floor by knocking on their doors on your way out.
- DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR.
- Call 911 once you reach a safe location.
If you live in a NON- FIREPROOF BUILDING and there is a fire, it is usually better (safer) to leave the building immediately.
*Fireproof does not mean that the building is immune to fire.
While the structural components may not catch on fire, the contents will and generate life-threatening heat and smoke. Generally speaking, in a fireproof building the fire and smoke will be contained to the portion of the building (apartment) where the fire has started.
If you live in a FIREPROOF BUILDING and there is a fire, it is usually better (safer) to:
- Stay inside rather than enter- ing smoke-filled hallways. If the fire is on a floor below your apartment you may be caught by rising heat and smoke in the stairways. If the fire is above your apartment there is less danger in leaving but also less of a reason to leave as the smoke and heat are above you.
- Keep your door CLOSED.
- Seal the door with duct tape or wet sheets and towels. Seal ventilators and any other openings where smoke may enter.
- Turn off air conditioners.
- Unless flames or smoke are coming from below, open your windows a few inches at the top or bottom. Don’t break windows; they may need to be closed later.
- Call the Fire Department with your apartment number and description of the conditions in your apartment. Firefighters will be directed to your location.
YOUR APARTMENT FIRE SAFETY CHECKLIST FROM THE FDNY
Prevention and planning is the key to protecting your family and neighbors.
Use this checklist as a guide to identify possible fire safety problems in your apartment or building. If you check NO to any question the potential hazard should be corrected to reduce your risk and increase your preparedness for fire.
1-Do you have at least one operable smoke alarm?
2-Do you have at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm?
3-Are all electrical cords in good condition? (not frayed or cracked)
4-Are all electrical cords in the open, not run under rugs or through doorways?
5-Is your apartment free from storage of flammable products such as gasoline or propane?
6-Are space heaters placed at least three feet from combustibles?
7-Are space heaters plugged directly into wall sockets and not into extension cords?
8-Is your apartment door fireproof and self-closing?
9-Is your fire escape window clear and unobstructed?
10-If you have a security gate, is it FDNY approved?
11-Can all windows be opened easily from the inside?
12-Are building stairways free of storage and rubbish?
13-Are stairway fire doors fireproof and self-closing?
14-Are stairway fire doors kept closed?
15-Are exit lights in the stairway in good working order?
16-Do you have operable flashlights handy?
17-Do you have a fire escape plan?
Immediately correct problems or hazards that are within your control or responsibility. Notify the building owner of any others that are not.