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Fire Risk Management

Preventing Fire Losses

Over time, experts have identified the most frequent causes of loss and how to  reduce the extent of damage when accidents occur.  Below are  questions designed to help you decide whether you need to take additional precautions to control the risk of fire.

  • Are employees trained in fire safety? Do they know exactly what to do if a fire starts? Is extra training given to those responsible for storage areas, housekeeping, maintenance and operations where there are open flames or flammable substances are used or stored?
  • Do you have the right type, size and number of fire extinguishers? Your fire department or fire protection equipment supplier can advise you. Are the fire extinguishers serviced and tagged annually? Do you review with employees at least once a year where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them?
  • If needed, have you modernized your electrical system? Faulty wiring causes a large percentage of nonresidential fires. Are electrical panels accessible, with at least three feet of clearance and labeled? Except for temporary use (or surge protection for sensitive electronics such as computers) electrical equipment should be plugged directly into an outlet, rather than into extension cords.
  • Have you situated your business in a fire-resistant building—a structure made of noncombustible materials with firewalls (self-supporting solid walls running the full width and height of the building) that create barriers to the spread of fires?
  • Does your building have a fire alarm system connected to the local fire department or an alarm company?
  • Does your building have a sprinkler system to douse fires? If so, is it serviced, including a main drain test, at least annually? Is your sprinkler system the right one for your kind of building and the materials used in your business? Different types of buildings and contents require different types of fire suppression systems. Your insurance carrier, alarm company or local fire department can assist you in choosing the most appropriate type of system.
  • Have smoke detectors been installed, and are they regularly tested?
  • Have you posted “No Smoking” signs? Do you enforce the rule? Is there evidence of smoking?
  • Do you regularly check your heating system?

Fire Prevention Tips for Apartment Residents

Fire prevention is a critical part of maintaining a safe living environment, especially in an apartment complex where you share walls, floors, and ceilings with other residents. Here are some tips to help prevent fires from occurring in the first place:

Kitchen Safety

  1. Never leave cooking food unattended. Most kitchen fires start because of unattended cooking.
  2. Keep flammable materials such as towels, curtains, and oven mitts away from the stove.
  3. Use a timer to remind you when food is done cooking.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen and know how to use it.

Electrical Safety

  1. Do not overload electrical outlets. Use power strips and surge protectors as needed.
  2. Replace any frayed or damaged electrical cords.
  3. Do not run cords under carpets or furniture, as this can cause overheating.
  4. If you notice any sparking or unusual smells, turn off the electricity to that area and contact your landlord.

Smoking Safety

  1. Do not smoke in your apartment or on the balcony. Smoking is one of the leading causes of apartment fires.
  2. Use a deep, sturdy ashtray if you must smoke outside.
  3. Always extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials completely before disposing of them.
  4. Never smoke in bed or while lying down.

General Safety

  1. Keep flammable materials such as paper, cardboard, and clothing away from heat sources.
  2. Do not store flammable liquids such as gasoline or propane indoors.
  3. Test smoke alarms regularly and replace batteries as needed.
  4. Have an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with your family.


By following these fire prevention tips, you can help prevent fires from occurring in your apartment complex and keep yourself and your neighbors safe. Remember to always be vigilant and take fire safety seriously, as even a small fire can quickly turn into a major disaster.