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Towering Inferno - safety first - be prepared

Regardless of where you live, you should be aware of ways of not only preventing fires but what to do in the event you encounter one – especially in a condominium high rise building.

There are a few key elements to bear in mind in this situation and specifically in any fire safety plan you develop and practice within your own home environment: prevention; detection; and, escape planning and practice.

Were you aware that the number one cause of all fatal apartment fires is smoking and, nearly a third of them are caused by someone smoking in bed? Further, most residential fires occur at night when condos and apartments are most heavily populated.

Always remember that the fire safety of your building lies with each and every resident. That’s why it is so important that you plan together to keep your building as fire safe as possible and learn the right thing to do should fire break out. A pro-active board of directors can be tremendous in helping all residents deal with and safely manage prepared procedures in the event a fire does start.

Encourage other owners and your condo board to meet regularly to devise fire safety plans for your building. As part of your group planning, explore your building. Know every possible exit.

Remember never to use elevators in a fire. Keep exit and stairwell doors closed but not locked at all times. Keep exits clear of debris and storage. An ounce of prevention can save your life. Prevention is your best insurance against fire. In a fire, there is no time to stop and think. You need to know in advance the two quickest safe ways out of your unit and your building.

And, in the event there is a fire, stick to your escape plans – do not go back into the building yourself. Ever.

Mary Bateman is a long-time condo owner; talk with her and her resources about safety and fire prevention. Call her at 705-722-7100.