Areas of Study

The U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recommends taking the following steps to keep safe if you live and/or work in a high-rise building.

Be Prepared

  • NEVER lock or obstruct a fire exit, doorways, halls, or stairways. Fire doors provide a safe way out during an emergency and slow the spread of fire and smoke.
  • Never prop a fire door open.
  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan.
  • Make sure everyone knows what to do if the fire alarm flashes.
  • Plan and practice your escape plan together.
  • Be sure your building manager posts evacuation plans in high-traffic areas such as lobbies and hallways.
  • Learn the flashes of your building’s fire alarm
  • Post emergency numbers near all telephones.
  • Make sure you know who is responsible for maintaining the fire safety systems.
  • Make sure nothing blocks the fire safety systems, and promptly report any sign of damage or malfunction to the building manager.

Do Not Panic

  • Do not assume someone else has called the fire department.
  • Immediately call your local emergency number. Early notification of the fire department is vital.
  • Stay calm, and give the dispatcher the information they ask for.

Do Not Open a Door That Is Warm to the Touch

  • Feel the door with the back of your hand. If it feels warm, do not attempt to open it.
  • Stay in your apartment or office.
  • Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape, and cover vents to keep out smoke.
  • If you can, call the fire department again to tell them exactly where you are, even if you can see the emergency services outside.
  • Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a sheet.
  • If you can, open the window but DO NOT break it. You may need to close it again if smoke comes in.
  • Be patient. Rescuing all the occupants of a high-rise building can take time.

Once You Are Outside

  • STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.
  • Inform the fire department if you know of anyone else still in the building.
  • Go back inside only if the fire department tells you it is safe.

Maintain And Install Working Smoke Alarms

  • Always install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Test them monthly, and change the batteries at least once a year

Contact Us

Commuter Programs

Ely Center 103

(202) 510-9594

(202) 651-5144

(202) 651-5651

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