High Rise Action Plan

1.What causes most apartment fires?

Most apartment fires are caused by:

  • Cooking / kitchen fires
  • Heating equipment such as stoves or space heaters
  • Smoking materials are a major cause of fatal apartment fires

2. How is this building different from other homes?

A high rise is different in the following ways:

  • An apartment or high-rise fire is no cause for panic. If you plan ahead and practice fire drills, your chances of survival are greatly increased
  • Ensure your building has fire safety plans, including floor plans and evacuation procedures. Fire safety plans should be posted and visible. If they are not, contact the landlord or building manager. Take the time to review and learn your building's fire safety plan
  • Fire safety is everyone's responsibility. Every resident should plan to be fire safe
  • Since most high-rise buildings re constructed of fire resistant materials and contain enclosed stairwells, fires are generally confined to individual rooms or apartments, furnishings or possibly one floor
  • Stairwell doors are fire doors that must be closed at all times to prevent the spread of fire, smoke and poisonous gases
  • Wood frame buildings up to four stories in height have enclosed stairwells, used to escape the building in case of a fire

3.How will I know if there is a fire?

The topic of fires and evacuation is a serious concern to seniors who live in apartment buildings. We would like to take this opportunity to guide you through the entire sequence of a fire alarm or fire emergency and the expected response of you the building occupants:

  • It is recommended that every dwelling have a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For maximum protection install a smoke alarm in every bedroom
  • Learn to recognize the sound of the fire alarm, and leave the building immediately when you hear it. Never ignore the alarm as fire may be present in any part of the building
  • Test smoke alarms monthly. Change the batteries in battery operated smoke alarms at least once a year. Clean smoke alarms at least once every six months by gently vacuuming the exterior. Smoke alarms should be replaced at least every ten years
  • Your building should be equipped with smoke detectors and other fire alarm components

4.What's the plan for my building?

You should form your own plan for your building using the following tips:

  • Designating and training a fire warden on each floor of the building is recommended to ensure safe evacuation and ongoing safety programs
  • Develop and practice your fire safety plan. Know the two quickest and safest ways out of your building
  • Floor plans and evacuation procedures must be posted on every floor. Take time to learn them
  • Have a fire drill at least once a year, but practice your escape plans regularly. Coordinate practice drills with neighbours, the floor warden and the building manager
  • Someone should be assigned to help people with disabilities who may need assistance to evacuate safely

5.How do I escape from the fire?

Use the following tips to safely escape a fire:

  • Check doors before opening them. Stay low behind the door, reach up and feel the door and the door handle for heat. If the door feels cool, brace yourself against it and open it slowly. If safe, leave the building and go directly to your meeting place. If you encounter smoke, crawl low under the smoke. Cleaner air is down low near the floor
  • Get out quickly and safely
  • If an announcement can be heard over your buildings public address system, listen carefully and follow directions
  • If the door feels warm, or if you see smoke of flames on the other side of the door, shut the door and stay in your apartment. Protect yourself by sealing the openings around the door and vents with bedding or towels. Call the fire department of 911 to notify them of your location
  • If there is no smoke outside a window, open it and signal for help. Never go to the roof as you may become trapped with no means of escape or protection
  • Never use elevators in a fire! Use the stairways and close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke
  • Once you are out of the building go directly to your planned meeting place. Do not re-enter the building. Ensure 911 has been called

6.Is there anything else I need to know ?

There are a few things about fire safety in a high rise all residents should know:

  • Be careful with smoking materials. Large, deep, sturdy ashtrays are best. Soak smoking materials with water before discarding. Check furniture and cushions for dropped matches and cigarettes. Never smoke in bed. Smokers must remember that alcohol and medications can make you less alert.
  • Do not store flammable liquids (gasoline) or compressed gases (propane) in your building, car or storage locker.
  • Do not use balconies for storage. This can block a means of escape, as well as become a target for arsonists.
  • Do not use underground parkade stall for storage of anything other than a vehicle.
  • Keep matches and lighters high on a shelf or in a cupboard where children can't get them.
  • Keep space heaters at least 1 meter (3 feet) from combustibles.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended. If a pan catches on fire, use the pot holder or oven mitt and slide a lid or cookie sheet over the flames and turn off the burner.
  • Replace worn or damaged electrical cords. Do not overload electrical outlets. Us an approved power bar/electrical receptacle for additional electrical cords.

7.How do I schedule a presentation?

To schedule a presentation contact White Rock Fire Rescue at 604-541-2121. Presentations are subject to cancellation if an emergency should occur. The Fire Prevention Division will reschedule. If you need to cancel a scheduled tour, White Rock Fire Rescue requires at least 48 hours cancellation notice.