There are special dangers involved with apartment living. This is because you live so close to many other people. Their actions can jeopardize your safety and so it’s very important for you to be aware of what you must do to safeguard yourself, your family and your possessions. Fire Safety . . . Fire is perhaps the greatest danger in apartment buildings. With so many units joined together, it doesn’t take long for fire to spread from one to another.
The following guidelines are critical to your safety:
• Install smoke detectors in the kitchen, all bedrooms, the laundry area and hallways. You must test them every month and replace the batteries every 6 months. They won’t do you any good if they aren’t in working order.
• Keep fire extinguishers handy in the kitchen, laundry area and near your outside grill.
• Develop an escape plan. This plan should include two ways of exiting – in most cases, this will probably include the main door and either a window or door wall. If you live on a higher floor and don’t have access to a fire escape, purchase a rope ladder to use for exiting from windows or a balcony. Practice your escape plan regularly so each member of your family knows exactly what to do in case of fire.
• Never use an elevator during a fire.
• Never park in front of fire hydrants or in fire lanes and make sure your guests don’t either. General Safety . . . Fire isn’t the only danger in an apartment building. You must also be aware of hazards that can exist no matter where you live and take precautions to prevent them.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector.
• Install screen guards or window stops and doorstops on your patio door to protect your children from falling.
• Keep your apartment and building number near the telephone so your family or babysitter can access it in case of an emergency. Remember that memories can fail during emergencies.
• Make certain your apartment number is clearly marked on your door.
• Be sure that each person in your family knows how to dial 911. Protecting from Intruders . . . There are many people coming and going in an apartment complex. Criminals count on this anonymity. That makes it very important to get to know the other tenants. When you do, not only are you better able to identify someone who doesn’t belong, it also makes it more likely that tenants will look out for one another.
• Consider forming an “apartment watch”. This is similar to a neighborhood watch but confined to your apartment complex. If a group of tenants is on the alert for suspicious behavior, they can prevent many problems from arising.
• Install quality deadbolt locks on your door and place a wooden rod or steel brace on sliding doors. One caution about deadbolt locks – don’t purchase those that require a key. In an emergency, you won’t have time to search for the key.
• Make sure your landlord has installed good lighting in all stairways, hallways, and common areas like the laundry room.
• Make sure that if your building has a common entry, the entry door locks so that only tenants can enter. Never open that door for strangers. If you follow these guidelines, practice good common sense, and are alert to what’s going on around you, your apartment will provide a safe home for you and your family.