Fire Safety and Smoke Detectors

In the event of a fire, please take the following steps:

If the fire is in your apartment …

  • Close the door to the room where the fire is and leave the apartment.
  • Make sure everyone leaves the apartment with you.
  • Take your keys.
  • Close, but do not lock, the apartment door.
  • Alert people on your floor by knocking on their doors on your way to the exit.
  • Use the stairs to leave the building.
  • Call 911 once you reach a safe location. Do not assume the fire has been reported unless firefighters are on the scene.
  • Call the superintendent at +1 646 407-5590.
  • Meet the members of your household at a pre-determined location outside the building. Notify the firefighters if anyone is unaccounted for.
  • Avoid panic — staying calm can be life-saving.

If the fire is not in your apartment …

  • Feel your apartment door and doorknob for heat. If they are not hot, open the door slightly and check the hallway for smoke, heat or fire.
  • Exit the apartment and building if you can safely do so, following the instructions above for a fire in your apartment.
  • If the hallway or stairwell is not safe because of smoke, heat, or fire and you have access to a fire escape, use it to exit the building. Proceed cautiously on the fire escape and always carry or hold onto small children.
  • If you cannot use the stairs or the fire escape, call 911 and tell them your address, floor, apartment number and the number of people in your apartment.
  • Seal the doors to your apartment with wet towels or sheets, and seal air ducts or other openings where smoke may enter.
  • Open windows a few inches at top and bottom unless flames and smoke are coming from below.
  • Do not break any windows.
  • If conditions in the apartment appear life-threatening, open a window and wave a towel or sheet to attract the attention of firefighters.
  • If smoke conditions worsen before help arrives, get down on the floor and take short breaths through your nose. If possible, retreat to a balcony or terrace away from the source of the flames, heat or smoke.
  • Avoid panic — staying calm can be life-saving.

By law, every apartment must have at least one electric or battery-operated ionization or photoelectric smoke detector installed properly. The smoke detectors must carry the seal of approval of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., Canadian Standards Associates, or Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada. Residents must let the superintendent come into the apartment to install at least one smoke detector.

Smoke detectors may be mounted on the wall or the ceiling. If mounted on the wall, they must be placed between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling; if mounted on the ceiling, they must be at least 4 inches from the wall. Mounting a smoke detector on the ceiling of small alcoves between rooms, where there is little airflow, is not recommended. The co-op will provide one smoke detector free of charge and free batteries when needed. It is recommended that the battery be replaced once a year — a good day to replace it is when we switch to daylight saving time. Please contact the superintendent when your smoke detector’s battery runs out (the detector will beep intermittently).

For further fire protection, we recommend that you install a small dry chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen. They cost about $20 and can be very handy when you least expect it.

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