Fire Prevention for Apartment Buildings

If you own an apartment building, you know it’s a valuable asset that you want to make sure to protect to ensure it continues to bring monthly income into your pocket in the form of rental income. Take care of your baby!

Philadelphia Insurance Companies has identified three leading causes of residential fires: electrical issues, smoking, and cooking. Additional hazards include laundry dryers, barbeques, and flammable liquids. To address these causes, Philadelphia recommends the following tips and resources to help you reduce the chances of a fire at your apartment building:

Electrical Fire Safety

  • Do not overload your system by using “daisy chains” of power strips or extension cords
  • Have the entire electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician prior to building purchase or occupancy
  • Have your electrical system inspected at least every 10 years by a qualified electrician
  • Have an infrared scan of your electrical system with a thermographic camera every three to seven years to identify hot spots
  • Tighten or replace components where hot spots exist to help prevent electrical fires and for possible savings in electrical consumption
  • Visually inspect key electrical components, like breakers and switches, on an ongoing basis, making sure they are clean, dry, and tight
  • If your apartment building has aluminum wiring or Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers, these are known fire hazards; contact your insurance broker or carrier for Risk Management Services to help

Smoking Fire Safety

  • Make your apartment building smoke-free
  • If you cannot have a non-smoking apartment building, create a safe smoking area at least 20 feet away from the building with a non-combustible, non-tipping receptacle for ash and butts

Cooking Fire Safety

  • Implement cooking fire preventative devices, such as stovetops that sense unattended cooking or limiting the temperature of the cooking surface
  • Implement Auto-Out fire reactive devices that expel an extinguishing agent in the event of a fire

Laundry Dryer Fire Safety

  • Verify that dryer lint traps are in good condition and being cleaned often to prevent buildup
  • Ducting from the dryers should be smooth aluminum, and should also be on a cleaning schedule

Flammable Liquid Fire Safety

  • Do not store more flammable liquids or aerosols than necessary on a property. Discard all not being used and store the remainder in a UL listed flammable liquids cabinet

Barbecue Fire Safety

  • Consider a policy of “no personal” barbecues on site. Provide a community barbecue located away from any building
  • Do not allow any charcoal barbecues to be used onsite
  • If personal barbecues are allowed, they should be used a minimum of 10 feet from any structure and not allowed on any combustible deck

Finally, make sure smoke detectors are present and operational. In residential fires resulting in deaths, 57% of the time a smoke alarm was not present or was not operational, according to the NFPA. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent fires, which requires a joint effort by apartment building owners, apartment building managers, and residents. A reasonable investment of time and resources by all three parties can help keep people safe and protect real estate investments. For more information, watch the four-minute video above from Philadelphia Insurance Company. And contact me anytime you have questions about protecting your apartment building. This is an ever-valuable asset you want to keep in good standing.

Credit: Philadelphia Insurance Companies

-JK

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About Jim Kinmartin - Business Insurance & Risk Management Broker

Jim is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the ISU - Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage in Torrance, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Long Beach, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

2 responses to “Fire Prevention for Apartment Buildings”

  1. Alice Spedale says :

    Hi Jim,

    I have enjoyed your emails for several years now. Your emails are interesting and informative.

    Your suggestions for keeping apartment buildings safe from fires are so good that I took notice, and I do not live in or own an apartment; but I do own a home. I have my barbecue in the backyard on an indoor/outdoor rug. After reading your email today, I am going to move my barbecue to a safer location.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely. I appreciate it.

    Alice A subscriber.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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