Scary Situation that Shook Things Up

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Last night as we settled in to go to sleep, the peace was shattered by the screech of fire alarms.  At first, I wondered if I may have left something on the stove.  Our fire alarm is quite sensitive and can be set off by cooking smells.  But I had long cleaned up the kitchen and nothing was on the stove.  Then we thought the heater, which was turned on for the first time, may have malfunctioned; we opened several windows and still it continued.

Mr. Apt Prepper got dressed and put some shoes on to go outside.  I was right behind him and we saw the screeching alarms were not just our unit but coming from our entire building.  Something was on fire.  My heart started racing when I saw all the other residents filing out of their units.  The fire doors at the end of the hall started shutting automatically.  I thought for sure we would have to evacuate.

We immediately started calling out what we could carry out in a few minutes.  For me, it would be:

  • wallet that has ID, bank cards
  • cell phone
  • grab and go binder
  • computer and portable storage
  • go-bag we had packed before the hurricane

Then we spotted smoke coming out of the recreation hall.  It appeared one of the residents had rented it for a party and they had burned something that caused a lot of smoke.  They were scrambling to open all the doors and windows.  After 10 minutes we heard the fire trucks arrive.

Whew!  What a scare it was.

Fire is a constant threat

Though the first thing we think about when preparing are natural disasters such as hurricanes, fire is one of the most common threats.  Living in a multi-family dwelling, it is also an ever present threat for apartment dwellers.

How to prepare

  • Make sure you have renter’s insurance and have updated the information.
  • Take pictures of your belongings in case you need it to file a claim.
  • If you have to evacuate, identify what you will carry with you.
  • If you have pets, make sure you have a pet carrier handy and go bag for them as well.  Post signs that you have a pet in case something happens when you are out.
  • Identify all possible exits out of your building.
  • Have everyone’s shoes next to the exit to avoid going out barefoot.
  • If you do not have a fire extinguisher, now is the time to get one.
  • Always practice fire safety.

One of my fears is being in a fire.  We felt fortunate nothing worse happened.  The experience helped us identify any deficiencies in our plan:  we had moved and had not taken recent pictures of our belongings; we have several years’ worth of documents and photos to be scanned, etc.

The only way to deal with fears is to prepare.

To all my readers, have a happy and safe Halloween!

© Apartment Prepper 2017

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  1. if you are not on the ground floor you need to have a escape ladder. theses are a chain ladder that fits over the window sill and allows you to climb safely down. keep the ladder in a closet by the windows. also need some very good flashlights too

    1. Hi old guy, You are correct, since we are not on the ground floor, an escape ladder is our next purchase. We do have multiple flashlights and fire escape kits including masks. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Prepping for any type of disaster is extremely important. Unfortunately, it takes a near disaster or an actual disaster to prove to us how important prepping really is. Your story is a perfect example of how unprepared many of us really are. For important documents, it is smart to have a fire safe box in the house where it is easily accessible during an emergency where you can keep important documents, an emergency cell phone and even those pictures for insurance purposes. I am happy to hear that you made it out safely. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing attention to the need for fire preparedness.

    1. Hi Conrad, We do have some general preparedness supplies, and they came in handy in the recent hurricane. This experience showed me how easily things can happen. Fire is now tops on our list of threats to prep for. Thanks for the comment!

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