Fire Escape Plans For Apartments

Two big fires at two apartment complexes destroy people’s lives this past weekend, but no one died.

One happened in Starkville and the other in Vernon, Alabama.

It was a close call for residents, but it’s why firefighters say you should have an escape plan.

You might think living in an apartment would mean you need a different escape plan than a house, but that’s not necessarily true.

Firemen say all fires have similarities and both places have similar escape routes.

Most apartment complexes have one common stairwell through the middle of the building with units on each side.

Some residents wonder how they would escape if the stairs were ever cut off by fire or falling debris.

“I think until it happens to you, maybe you don’t even, you know, think about it at all,” says Laura Emelio.

Emelio has been living on the second floor of Franklin Apartments in Columbus, for five months.

It’s the first time she’s lived on a top floor and now, she also has to worry about Luna.

“This is the only way out, so you know, if the fire was coming up through the stairs, I would have to jump out through the window or something, because you know, this is the only exit.”

Starkville Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy says whether you live in an apartment or a home, there’s always two ways out to escape a fire.

“Obviously, your first way out is going to be through your main entrance, whatever that is, your front door if you will, and typically your second way out is a window, a bedroom window, or something of that nature.”

McCurdy says once you get to a window, try to let someone know where you are.

“Try to get a fireman’s attention, you know, maybe hang a sheet out of the window, throw something, even throw something out of the window just to get somebody’s attention, so if there’s time, then they can put up a ladder or some sorts like that, and climb up and get you down safely.”

McCurdy tells residents if there’s no time, they need to jump and try to land on anything that could soften the fall.

“I have heard to try and roll into it. That is something I have heard about, you know, when you are jumping, to try and not catch it all on your feet, so I guess that’s what I would do,” says Emelio.

McCurdy suggests to buy a throw over fire escape ladder if you live on a second story or higher.

Source: WBCI, Missouri

That Flowerpot on the Fire Escape Could Be a Killer

Oct. 24, 2017 — Ignore house rules and city and state laws at your peril.

Ah, the perils and pitfalls of cooperative living. A shareholder in a co-op in Morningside Heights possesses a green thumb, evidenced by the flourishing potted plants on his window ledges and fire escape. When he waters his plants, alas, the runoff streams down the wall, across windows, and into the apartment of his downstairs neighbor. This aggrieved neighbor spoke to the man with the green thumb, and he wrote letters to the managing agent and co-op board, but the water keeps coming. Is this right, or fair?

“No one should be using a fire escape for the storage or placement of any items, including plantings,” attorney Mark Hakim of Chaves & Perlowitz tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. “It is a matter of health and safety.”

It’s also against the co-op’s house rules, and it violates city and state laws governing fire safety, which state that all means of egress, such as stairwells and fire escapes, must be kept free of obstructions. As for the flowerpots on the window ledge, if one of them should fall, it could injure or kill a passerby, which is why the co-op’s house rules forbid flowerpots on window ledges.

So what’s the aggrieved shareholder to do? Write another letter to the board and to the managing agent, advises Hakim, demanding that the board “take this matter seriously.” The shareholder might also call 311 to report the blocked fire escape. If a city inspector finds a fire hazard, the building would likely be issued a violation. In such situations, shareholders should press the board to act before the building gets fined, which will cost all shareholders. However, a ticket would certainly get management’s attention. Then again, so would a dead body on the sidewalk in front of the building, sprawled next to a shattered flowerpot and a lovely but deadly geranium.

Source: The Habitat – Building Operations