What to Do In Case of a High Rise Building Fire: 15 Steps to Safety

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 22, 2021

It’s often the latest news story that makes you wonder if you’re really prepared. Everyone is on high alert, and that adds to the stress that you deal with every day. As fire restoration specialists in Chicago, we want to share information that focuses on what you can do to feel safer in your high-rise apartment.

Understand High-Rise Building Fire Safety

It’s important to understand that high-rise buildings provide residents with very safe environments. Nationally, less than one percent of deaths due to residential fires occur in our tallest buildings.

The current code is very strict. Owners of all commercial high rise buildings built before 1975 are required to install sprinkler systems before 2017. The buildings are designed with fire-resistant materials and sophisticated ventilation systems. Emergency exits, lighting, alarms and communication systems add extra layers of safety.

Still, you have to know what to do before a fire breaks out so that you can react calmly in a space that is often much more confining than a typical suburban home.

What to do in a High Rise Fire: Follow These 15 Steps to Safety

what to do in a high rise fire steps

If you smell smoke in your building, call 911 immediately. While this seems obvious, it’s not uncommon for residents to assume that someone else will make the call. Do it yourself, and then alert building security or management as well as neighbors on your floor. If you aren’t in immediate danger, don’t evacuate. Wait for instruction from first responders.

Pre-planning is important because you must know your building’s stairwells and emergency exits in case you have to leave your apartment. If you’re instructed to evacuate, don’t lock the door as fire fighters may need entrance. Elevators are not reliable during a fire, so always use the nearest stairwell, and move to a lower level.

Share High Rise Fire Safety Resources

Fire trucks during emergency restoration at high rise building

Talk to your neighbors, share fire safety plans, and identify residents who might need assistance during an emergency. High-rise fire safety is a shared responsibility that should start with building management. Ask your property manager to contact your local Fire Department, set up a presentation on high-rise life safety and make it a part of association meetings. Your city’s first responders are your best source for information that can be printed, posted and shared with everyone in the building.

The aftermath of fire damage in high-rise buildings requires specialized cleanup by a commercial restoration contractor. If you’d like more information about these services, please let us know.

The strongest sense of security comes from knowing that you’re ready to take care of yourself and help your neighbors too. Our goal is to make sure that everyone has solid information for developing action plans that can save property and lives.

If disaster strikes, we provide 24/7 emergency restoration high-rise building residents can always count on. Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, we know that safety at home depends on being prepared.