If a fire breaks out, your first reflex must be to leave the premises. The evacuation will be quick and efficient if it has been prepared according to a plan.
When you enter an apartment dwelling or a public building for the first time, locate the emergency exits or egresses, which are indicated by signs bearing the word “EXIT” or “SORTIE”.
Your owner has the responsibility of establishing an evacuation plan and procedure, and of informing you regarding such. If you have not received from your owner any information on this subject, discuss this with him/her.
As a tenant, you have also your part of responsibility. Never leave obstacles cluttering the route leading to the exits. During winter, remove snow and ice from your balcony and stairs, as well as the paths leading to the exterior.
In case of fire
If you detect a fire (smoke odor, crackling noises):
- Actuate the alarm system.
- Leave the building immediately.
- Contact the fire department.
If you hear the alarm system:
- Leave behind all personal belongings.
- Touch the door before opening it. If it is hot to the touch, there are likely flames or warm gases on the other side; in this case, do not open the door.
- If the door is not hot to the touch, open it but slowly to make sure that there is no danger on the other side.
- Head promptly towards the nearest exit if no immediate danger poses a threat to you. If there is smoke in the air, move forward by crawling on the floor. Do always remain ready to turn back if the access to the exit happens to be obstructed by smoke or flames.
- Never take the elevator.
If you must remain inside your dwelling unit because a greater hazard poses a threat to you outside:
- Phone your fire department to signal your presence inside the building (always keep the telephone number of the fire department handy).
- Block the gaps around the door with the help of wet towels or sheets to keep the smoke from penetrating inside your dwelling unit.
- Breathe through a moist piece of cloth, if smoke gets in.
- Open a window, but be prepared to close it up again promptly if smoke penetrates through it.
- Go to the balcony if you believe that the smoke and flames will not reach you there, or stand before a window so as to be easily located.