Safety Tips from the Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council
A high-rise building is a structure higher than the tallest aerial ladder can reach. Usually that is about seven stories high but can be less. Many significant fires have occurred in these buildings, claiming lives because most occupants were not prepared.
Preparedness and planning is key to escaping
Whether you live in a high-rise apartment or are temporarily staying in a high-rise building, remember these survival actions:
- Stay calm.
- Report fire or smoke immediately. Sound the fire alarm no matter how small the fire.
- Go directly to the fire exit taking your room key with you.
- Do not use the elevators.
- Go quickly to the ground floor and exit.
- If your exit is blocked by smoke or fire use an alternate way out. Exit to the roof if necessary.
- Crawl low below the smoke where the air is easier to breathe.
- If trapped in a room, close the doors between you and the smoke or fire. Seal cracks around doors and vents with wet cloths. Open any windows slightly to let fresh air in. Signal at a window for rescuers. If possible, use the telephone to call and give the fire department your exact location, even if they are on the scene.
Use this high-rise safety checklist to assist with your safety:
- Locate the nearest fire exits.
- Count and remember the number of doors between exits and your room.
- Read all of the fire emergency information provided. Note procedure for reporting a fire.
- Open exit doors and make sure they work. Examine staircase layout.
- Locate the nearest alarm box and learn how to operate the alarm.
- Recognize the sound of the smoke detectors and fire alarm.
- Participate in fire drills and know the evacuation plans for your building.
- Study the layout of your room or apartment and know two ways out of it, if possible.
- Determine how to open all doors and windows.
- Look outside windows for ledges, decks or anything that may help or hinder your escape.
Floyd Peoples, Chief Fire Marshal, Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, 816-784-9100
Heart of America Metro Fire Chiefs Council, 9550 W. 95th St., Overland Park, Kan. 66212