Home fires cause over $7 billion in property damage each year, and seven people perish in house fires on average each day in the U.S. Whether you’re a tenant or a residential rental property owner, you could benefit from learning about fire safety and prevention for apartments. Being prepared could be the difference between minor damages or injuries and total loss or death.
Here are some of the most important fire safety and prevention tips you should know.
Electrical fires in apartments often result from overloaded outlets, frayed cords, extension cords run under carpets, or small appliances left plugged in. Phones left to charge on top of pillows can cause fires, too. If you’re a tenant, be mindful of how you use your electrical devices, avoiding the risks mentioned here. If you’re a landlord, make sure the apartment’s electrical system is up to code and well-maintained.
Cook With Caution
Kitchens are the heart of the home, but they’re also the heart of fire hazards, with cooking being the leading cause of house fires and fire injuries. Follow safe cooking practices, such as avoiding overheating or overfilling cookware when using oil, always keeping flammable items and clutter away from cooking surfaces, and turning off the stove or oven when not in use. Fire mitigation products for kitchens can be installed by the rental property owner to reduce fire risk and damage. As a Millers Mutual client, you can get preferred pricing on the StoveTop FireStop and Smart Burner products.
Heating equipment is involved in roughly 20% of all house fires. It is the duty of the landlord to provide safe, functional heating options for their apartments, but tenants and landlords can work together to promote safe use. All heating systems should be inspected and maintained before each winter, and any malfunctions or concerns with the system should be promptly reported and addressed. If space heaters are used, be sure to keep a wide area of clearance around them. If the apartment has a fireplace, make sure anyone who might use it knows how to do so responsibly.
Get the Right Gear
Every apartment should be equipped with essential fire safety equipment to ensure rapid detection and response if a fire occurs. Smoke alarms should be in key areas – like the kitchen and bedrooms – and a fire extinguisher should be kept in the kitchen. Both landlords and tenants should understand how to use and maintain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers properly. Additional equipment, like an emergency escape ladder or pet carrier, may be required based on apartment and tenant needs.
Plan & Practice
Fires progress quickly, and experts agree that you may only have two minutes to escape a burning building before it becomes impossible to get out. If you’re a tenant, you should create a detailed fire escape plan and practice it with all members of your household on a regular basis, such as once a year, to ensure you act quickly if a fire occurs. Landlords must provide and maintain clear escape routes for the apartment and may want to provide tenants with information or a map detailing the apartment building’s escape routes, emergency exits, and fire extinguishers.
Prevent & Protect
When residential rental property owners and tenants are focused on fire safety, the fire risk in an apartment can be greatly reduced. The American Red Cross offers resources to help households plan for and prevent house fires, including free home safety visits with smoke alarm installation. Sign up for yours online.
Working with Millers Mutual can mitigate your risks even more. With renters insurance options for tenants and comprehensive coverages like Businessowners Policies for landlords, Millers can help make you whole and protect your finances after a house fire. We specialize exclusively in multifamily housing, so we understand and meet your unique needs with ease. Discover our comprehensive apartment solutions, including renters insurance, today.