Just yesterday, I was on the 21st floor of Twelve Atlantic Station with my first-time home (condo) buyer doing the inspection on the condo she is buying. And while we were talking, the subject of water and fire came up.
Water because the home inspector was showing her where the main water shut off was if there was ever an emergency in her condo regarding water. If you don’t live in a high, or mid-rise condominium, the two biggest problem causes are water and fire.
So then this morning, I see that next week is National Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13 to be exact. And it got me thinking about all the high-rise buildings in Atlanta. Of course there are the office buildings, but let’s focus on the residential condominium buildings. And fire safety.
Most of today’s newer condominium towers have pretty advanced life safety systems. But the are not fool proof, and still require human intervention. If an alarm DOES sound, it’s still up the the building’s Concierge or security officer to determine if it’s a false alarm or a real emergency. As I have been told in many buildings, the alarms will sound on the floor above, and below where the actual alarm has been triggered. If not silenced within a certain amount of time (based on there NOT being an emergency) the alarm will then sound in the entire building. Now, I’m not a fireman, or fire marshal, so my understanding of this process should not be taken as the gospel truth!!!
But let’s just think about this for one minute. Heaven forbid, there IS a fire in your building? Do you have an escape plan? Have you really paid attention to where the stairs are located on your floor? You do know the elevators immediately return to the lobby, open and are not operational until a “fire key” is used to turn them back on? Do you know where the stairwell exits out of your building? Maybe National Fire Prevention Week would be a good time to make your plan.
Are you aware that the doors to stairwells in high rises LOCK behind you when you enter the stairwell? (Or at least from a security standpoint most of them do?) There are suppose to be select floors whereby you can get OUT of the stairwell and back into a hallway if the exit via a stairwell is blocked.
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your condo?
Here’s a Saturday or Sunday morning exercise for you. Take the stairs from your condo to the street. Yeah, I don’t care if you are on the 28th or 36th floor. Take the stairs. Find out about locked doors. Find out about points of access back into the building if you needed to.
You know what? I’m having some knee problems, so a stairwell trip would be a real challenge for me, but I think I may just try it myself.
I’ll report back to you about what I found. And if you DO take this challenge, let me know by posting a comment here.
For MORE Information about fire safety and prevention, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website.