As of this (Tuesday) morning, the wildfire near Flagstaff, Arizona, has consumed 10,000 acres of forest, has threatened the homes and apartments of countless others and demanded the evacuation of two residential neighborhoods. What caused this powerful and still only 10 percent contained fire? According to CNN.com, an abandoned campfire is to blame.
The firefighters are working to protect the homes of both renters and homeowners alike as they wait in evacuation camps for the flames to be contained. While forest fires may not be a threat to all homes across the country, fire is and it is important for renters to know how to keep themselves safe.
So, here are five ways you can fire proof your apartment and ensure your safe escape.
- Check your smoke detectors. Be sure that your smoke detectors are working properly at least once every six months. A working smoke detector ensures that you will have enough warning to react.
- Reduce clutter. Not only is having a clean and non-cluttered apartment good for a renter’s well being, but it also reduces the chances of items like old newspapers, magazines and even old clothes from igniting and spreading a fire. Plus, these items could get in the way and slow down the evacuation process.
- Keep a fire extinguisher. It is important to have a quality fire extinguisher handy in the event of a small fire and to know how to use it before you have to. As a rule of thumb, keep a fire extinguisher on each floor of your apartment and next to major sources of heat, such as the kitchen. Find out everything you need to know about your fire extinguisher at www.fire-extinguisher101.com.
- Know your exits. Don’t just assume that you’ll be able to get out of your apartment through the front door. Take precautions to ensure that you have at least two possible exits. Examine your apartment and plan your escape routes ahead of time. Do you have a fire escape outside your window? If not, and you are only a few floors up, you may want to invest in a fire escape ladder. (You can get one for as low as $35.00 at Wal-Mart.)
- Invest in Renter’s Insurance. Landlords are not required to insure your personal items. Protect your property by investing in Renter’s Insurance and taking pictures of all your belongings. Fires are devastating enough, and for as little as $10 a month, you can at least lessen the financial toll.
Above all, be responsible and keep your apartment safe and fire ready. And while you cannot control your neighbor’s behavior, if you take the above precautions, you can ensure that you’re ready in the event of a fire.