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Tara Helms
Tara Helms
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How Safe is Your Apartment?

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            There are several hundred apartment fires everyday in the United States.  How safe is your apartment?  There are many hazards which can lead to a fire in an apartment complex.  And those hazards are multiplied by the number of tenants.  Matches and careless smoking habits, electrical hazards, heating and cooking fires, are all common sources for the outbreak of fire.  Do you know if your apartment has fire prevention and detection equipment such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?  Have you ever considered the importance of the actual design and construction of the apartment building itself? 


·        Does the apartment building use combustible materials on balconies or in hallways and stairwells where fires could burn undetected and prevent escape?

·        Does each sleeping area have an unobstructed, operable window large enough for escape?

·        Is there adequate fire wall separation between each apartment unit to delay and/or prevent the spread of fire from one tenant’s apartment to another?

·        Are all exit doors self-closing?

·        Does the building contain an automatic sprinkler system?

·        Does the lease you signed contain an exculpatory clause holding the owners harmless for design defects which can lead to the spread of fire?

            From the construction of the apartment building itself to the type of smoke detector installed, there may be many hidden defects which can contribute to the spread of fire, or delay your escape.  If these defects exist, the consequences in loss of life, injury, and loss of personal property can be devastating.  Despite such potential devastation, it is important for the apartment dweller to know that most leases do not cover such losses and require that all claims for injury and damages to personal property (including automobiles) be borne by the residents and must be submitted to the resident’s own insurance carrier.  It is extremely important to keep these factors in mind when selecting an apartment for yourself or a family member.  It could save someone’s life.