2017-08-02 / Front Page

FDNY: Avoid Fire Dangers

By Liz Goff
Queens fire officials are once again reminding city residents to remain alert to fire dangers inside their homes and are urging tenants and homeowners to make sure they have working smoke alarms installed in every room.

Overloaded electric strips and a lack of working smoke alarms are also at the top of the FDNY list of “fire causes,” fire officials said. “Power strips that provide additional electric outlets are often overburdened with too many items, or appliances and electronic devices that require too much power,” fire officials said. “Too many people run the cords from the strips under rugs or carpeting, or attach them to long extension cords to provide additional outlets,” the sources said. “These strips are not designed for that type of use and can overheat, sparking a fire.”

Fire officials are also reminding residents to keep apartment doors closed if they sense a fire in their building. Open doors send fire into hallways and stairways, FDNY officials said. “Stay in your apartment. Do not go out into hallways or use stairways if you smell smoke or see flames,” the officials said.

Most New Yorkers have no idea if their building is fireproof, constructed with non-combustible materials. Tenants in certified fireproof buildings are often able to stay safe until firefighters arrive, if they keep the entrance door closed, officials said.

Tenants are urged to request designation from landlords and sellers before moving into buildings that are advertised as fireproof, fire officials said. “Ask for certification of the designation, request a certification book from the landlord or realtor, or go online to the city Department of Buildings, enter the address and ask for proof of certification, the officials said.

Here’s another hint, fire officials said. “If your building is equipped with fire escapes, it is probably not fireproof.”

Fire officials urge homeowners and tenants to come up with a proactive plan to help avoid home fires. Officials suggest purchasing a Kidde Lothiu Fire Alarm for each room in your home or apartment, because the new, state-of-the-art gadgets are guaranteed to work for 10 years without changing the battery. “This type of smoke detector can be a real lifesaver,” fire officials said.

If you have traditional smoke alarms installed in your home or apartment, remember to change the batteries once every six months to make sure they are working properly, officials said.

Fire officials said Queens residents “have the right to demand” that their landlords install smoke detectors in apartments. “Landlords are required by law to provide and install smoke detectors,” the officials said. “After that, it’s up to the residents to check batteries to make sure they test and clean the alarms each month – and check batteries to determine that they are working, the officials said.

What should you do if your smoke detector goes off, if you notice a fire at home or in a home or apartment in your neighborhood? FDNY officials urge you to stay calm, follow these suggestions – and NEVER try to fight a fire on your own.

  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop in your tracks, drop to the floor, and roll over and over to smother the flames.
  • If a fire breaks out in your home, or in a non-fireproof apartment building, GET OUT as quickly as you can.
  • If you live in a multiple dwelling and the fire is not in your apartment, STAY in your apartment. Do not run into smoke-filled halls or stairwells.
  • Call 911 from your apartment, if you can.
  • If you must leave, feel doors with the back of your hand before you try to open them. If they are hot, find another way out. Keep as close to the floor as you can. Smoke and heat rise, and the air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
  • If you are unable to get out, stay near a window and near the floor. Close the door and stuff a towel in the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from entering the room. Signal for help if you can – wave a cloth or sheet out the window, and yell for help. MAKE SOMEONE ON THE STREET KNOW YOU ARE THERE!
  • When leaving a burning home or apartment, do not stop to take any material possessions with you.
  • Always try to take your pet(s) with you, if you must leave a burning building.
  • Never use the elevator.

Fire officials suggest that you keep a home fire extinguisher, and learn how to use it.

A note for renters: contact your insurance carrier to discuss available renters insurance plans, which will provide coverage for losses caused by fire.

For additional information, call 311 or logon to the FDNY website at www.FDNY.nyc.gov


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