.Since childhood, we’ve repeatedly heard tips on fire prevention and what to do if there is a fire
“While most of us have heard these tips, they bear repeating,” says Ira Meister, founder and CEO, Matthew Adam Properties, a leading property management company. “And remember, one of the easiest and most important steps is to check the smoke and carbon detectors in the apartment.”
When clocks are moved each spring and fall, there are announcements that residents should check their detectors, Meister points out. Unfortunately, many people ignore this. It is easy and takes less than a minute. Each detector has a test button that can be pushed to see if the battery is charged. The city recommends changing the battery every spring and fall. Detector batteries also give off a shrill sound when they are dying, a sign to replace them. These detectors, by the way, are required for all apartments under city law. The city also recommends changing smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every five to seven years.
In addition to having the detectors in apartments, buildings should place them in the hallway as well as in incinerator rooms and the garage, Meister says.
Ira Meister Keeps His Residents Safe and Secure
Equipment that should be checked periodically by building staff are the sprinklers and standpipe located in stairwells to make certain that all are working properly. This can be done by outside contractors. Yet, Meister believes the best procedure is to have it done by the superintendent, who has been received certification from the city. Certification requires taking an approximately 25-hour course and passing a written exam.
The benefit of having certified staff is two-fold, Meister says. The inspections should be conducted monthly and doing them in-house is much less costly. Secondly, in the event of a malfunction, personnel are on-hand who are familiar with the system.
Residents, particularly those with children, should develop a fire evacuation plan and also remember to obey Fire Department instructions. This would include knowing when to leave an apartment, and when to stay, having an escape route to the exits in the event of a heavy smoke, arranging for a meeting point and what to do if it is best to stay in the apartment. As a quick guideline, Meister says, fire travels up, so if the fire is below, evacuation should be considered. If the fire is above the apartment, it may be best to stay in the unit.
There is considerable literature available on fire safety from the city and Fire Department.
“It doesn’t take much time to be prepared, and it can save lives,” Meister says.