Once you are sure your personal space is fire-safe, there are many things you must do to prepare for a fire.
Plan Your Escape Routes
You’ve done everything to make sure your suite is fire safe. But if a fire does happen, it’s important to have at least two escape routes planned in case one is blocked by fire or smoke. If you have children, it is especially important to explain the plan and practice how they should respond in an emergency.
- Study the floorplans of the building and learn:
- where all stairwells and exits are located.
- at least two escape routes from your suite.
- escape routes from the common areas as well as from your suite.
- Memorize the number of doors between your suite and the nearest fire exit in case you have to find the exit in the dark.
- Discuss which Muster Point you will meet at in case you get separated in an emergency.
Know Your Muster Points
‘Muster Point’ is the term commonly used to refer to the area where residents gather after leaving the building during a fire or other emergency. Small buildings have one Muster Point, but since our building is so large, with more than 100 residents, we have three Muster Points. All involve crossing the street to the far side. Our Muster Points are:
- The far (east) side of Arlington
- The far (west) side of Evanson
- The far (north) side of Preston
When you leave the building, go to the nearest Muster Point. You have planned your exit from your suite and discussed it with your family. But if you are somewhere else in the building when the fire alarm goes off, be aware of the shortest route to safety. Do a tour of the co-op and think about what exit and what Muster Point you would choose from all our common areas.
Learn About Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are located in the hallways of each floor and in most common areas. Floorplans showing the location of fire extinguishers are located by the elevators and in the hallways. Find where the extinguishers are located – including on your floor. They are to be used only on small fires. To get the extinguisher, you break the plastic door, remove the extinguisher and follow the instructions. Take the time to look for the extinguisher nearest you and read the instructions.
Plan for Your Pet
Your pet is part of the family too! What will happen to your pet if you are not home when there is an emergency? You may want to make arrangements with someone in a nearby suite to check that you have taken your pet out of the building with you. You may want to consider giving a trusted neighbour a key for this purpose. If your pet is home alone when a fire breaks out, your neighbour could unlock your door, and take your pet to safety. Firefighters will only rescue pets after they are satisfied that all humans have left the building. The best thing you can do for your pet’s safety is making sure you have a plan in place. The fire alarms are very loud, and the strobe lights can be frightening too. Introduce your pet and your helper to each other. Discuss the pet’s personality: Is it likely to hide? Where? Will it leave the building willingly with the helper? Where do you keep the pet’s gear (collars, leashes, cat carrier, budgie cage, etc.?) What do you need to think about if the alarm goes off at night? If it’s cold or wet? Remember, whether it’s you or your pet helper that takes your pet from your suite – leave the door closed tightly behind you, but leave it unlocked.
Get to Know Your Floor Captain
Each wing of our co-op has a Floor Captain as well as an Alternate Floor Captain. Their job is to ensure everyone in their wing gets out of the building in the event of a fire, as quickly and safely as possible. Get to know your Floor Captain and Alternate, let them know your pet plan, and discuss your exit plans with them. Tell your Floor Captain when you will be away for more than a day or two in the event of an emergency.
Tell Us if You’ll Be Away
Our co-op Occupancy Rules state that “If a unit will be vacant for more than 7 days, the householder(s) should advise the property manager and provide emergency contact information.” This can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the dates you’ll be away. It’s also a very good idea to let your Floor Captain (and your Buddy if you have one) know when you will be away.