Skokie has added some new heights to the horizon. High-rise buildings are popping up all over. The Skokie Fire Department wants you to know that high-rise buildings are among the safest places to live these days. However, high-rise fires start from the same causes as fires in other kind of homes; among the most common causes are:
- Electrical Systems
- Heating Equipment
To save lives and minimize property damage, the fire safety features of your building must be respected and maintained.
Alarms, Emergency Lighting & Sprinkler Systems
Know who is responsible for maintaining these systems in your building. Make sure that nothing blocks or interferes with these devices, and promptly report any sign of damage or malfunction to building management.
Keep Exits Clear
Never lock or block doorways, hallways, or stairwells. Fire doors not only will provide a safe way out, they may stop the spread of fire and smoke. Never prop or wedge fire doors open.
Learn your building evacuation plans. Check to see if evacuation plans are posted throughout the building. Learn the sound of the fire alarms. Are there two escape routes? Prepare yourself by counting the number of doors between your unit and the two nearest exits. Know where your buildings fire alarm pull stations are, and know how to use them. Post emergency numbers.
If There is a Fire
With large numbers of people evacuating at the same time - some of them from upper floors - cooperation is important. If you discover fire, sound the alarm and call 9-1-1. If you can hear instructions over your building's public address system, listen carefully and follow instructions; you may be able to stay where you are. Follow your building's evacuation plans, unless doing so puts you in danger.
If You Have to Leave the Building
Leave quickly; close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke. If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke; keep your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be the cleanest. Test the door knob and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm do not open it.
Never Use the Elevator
Once you are out do not go back in to the building unless directed to do so by the fire department.
If You Are Unable to Escape
If you are unable to escape to safety call the fire department to let them know where you are. If the fire is not in your area, close all doors and stay put. If there is fire or smoke go to another room with an outside window, and sit on the floor and wait. Stuff the cracks around the door and cover vents with towels or cloth to keep out smoke.
Wait at the window and signal for help with a flashlight or light -colored cloth. If possible, open the window a small amount. Do not break the window. Be ready to close the window if smoke gets in. Encourage your building management to conduct an emergency evacuation drill.