The Gear You Need To Survive An Apartment Fire

Jul 12, 2017

The Gear You Need To Survive An Apartment Fire

The death rate from fires in America is one of the highest per capita in the developed world…

Despite the fact that we have the most restrictive apartment building fire code regulations and the best technology to alert you when a fire breaks out so you can quickly follow through with your escape plan..

But all of these great tools and technology are meaningless if you haven’t taken the steps to evaluate your own needs and acquire the right fire escape gear for your apartment…

And that’s what I’ve put together for you here…

In this post, I provide an overview of the most effective pieces of fire safety gear you need to improve your chances of making it out of your apartment alive in a fire…

Survival skills and knowledge are critical, but with the right gear, you will dramatically increase your chances of making it out alive.

Let’s jump in.

Smoke Alarms

One of our top fire safety tips to live by... ALWAYS keep a smoke alarm in every room of your apartment or home.

Of the approximately 3,000 deaths and 20,000 injuries caused by residential fires each year, the majority of these deaths and injuries occur in homes without a working smoke detector.

Despite the fact that many states have strict recommendations and laws pertaining to smoke alarm installation in your home.

And don’t think just because your building is equipped with fire sprinklers you can pass over smoke alarm best practices or skimp on the rest of the gear below…

Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your apartment, each bedroom, outside sleeping areas, and any additional living or family rooms.

You need to periodically check the batteries to be sure your smoke alarm is active.  At a minimum check every six months…

Image: FEMA

You also need to be sure your smoke alarm isn’t too old.  Take a look at the bottom of your smoke alarms for the date of manufacturing.

Image: FEMA

If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old… it needs to be replaced.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers can serve as your first line of defense for putting out a small fire in your home…

And they can also aid in your escape during a building fire.

You should have a fire extinguisher in an accessible location in your kitchen, just make sure it’s at least 6 feet away from your stove.

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and injuries causing nearly half of in-home fires and injuries.

Having a fire extinguisher under your kitchen sink or in a cabinet nearby will provide you with quick access if you ever have a kitchen fire break out.

Other good places to have fire extinguishers are near your apartment exit doors and entry hallways.

Photo: lcorganizing

If your building catches fire, being able to quickly grab a fire extinguisher on your way out could be a big help in clearing your way to safety.

Apartment Fire Escape Kit

When your building is up in flames and it’s time to make your escape, you need the ability to navigate through a smoke filled environment that’s rapidly increasing in heat.

To prevent the smoke from incapacitating you and help you navigate to safety, you need a smoke mask to filter air and protect your eyes so you can see ahead, a method to light your way out, and protection from the heat and hot objects.

These items make up your Fire Escape Kit and we’ve put all of this together for you in one fast, easy to use system.

Fire Escape Kit

The Fire Escape Kit provides a smoke mask, heat resistant gloves, glow stick, and a heat reflective blanket…

It’s everything you need to make a safe escape from a burning building.

If you’d rather put one of these kits together yourself, put the following items into a small bag so it’s ready when you need it:

Smoke Mask

Fire Escape Mask

Many people don’t realize it, but most deaths in a fire are caused by smoke inhalation…. Not burns.

In fact, smoke inhalation causes 80% of the deaths in a fire.

Smoke can quickly incapacitate you during a fire, meaning, you won’t make it to an accessible exit...

And in an apartment complex, when everyone in your building is making their escape at the same time and the line to get out increases…

It can take several minutes to escape your building…

And smoke will be pouring into the stairwells as people file in.

To give yourself the best chance of survival in this scenario, you need a smoke hood that protects your head and eyes from radiant heat and also filters the smoke and toxic fumes from the air.

Our Fire Escape Mask is capable of filtering smoke and toxic fumes created during a fire for 60 minutes so you have plenty of time to either escape the burning building…

Or wait for rescuers if you get trapped in a fire.


Heat Resistant Gloves come included with the Fire Escape Kit

While you’re following your escape route, you’ll be feeling every door you approach for heat, grabbing railings, and possibly moving hot or burning objects to clear your way.

To protect your hands from burns and enable you to make a fast escape, add a pair of heat resistant gloves in your apartment fire safety kit.


Glow Stick

Glow Stick comes included with the Fire Escape Kit

Whether it’s to light your way out while you navigate to safety, or signal other residents and rescue workers, a glow stick will increase your chances of making a safe escape.

If you’d like something even more robust, a quality survival flashlight will beam out an even brighter light.

Whichever you choose, a light-generating tool needs to be in your Fire Escape Kit.

Heat Reflective Blanket

A Heat Reflective Blanket comes included with the Fire Escape Kit

Similar to the reflective material on your smoke hood, a reflective Mylar blanket will reflect radiant heat as you make your escape during a fire.

And once you’ve made it out alive, it can serve to keep you warm and provide shelter from the elements.

Once you’ve assembled your Fire Escape Kit, like your fire extinguishers, you want to put it in an accessible location such as in your nightstand, under your bed, or a hall closet so you can quickly grab it and go in an emergency.

Fire Escape Ladder

If you live in a smaller apartment building or live on one of the first three levels, a fire escape ladder is a must-have.

Store a fire escape ladder in each bedroom and it doesn’t hurt to have backups near other main escape windows.

Unfortunately, these aren’t much help if you live above the third story…

But if this does apply to you and you end up trapped in your apartment during a fire, a fire escape ladder is a simple and fast way to make a safe escape.

Fireproof Safe

In addition to securing your valuables such as cash, important documents, ownership titles, and birth certificates in the event of a break-in…

A fireproof safe also protects your valuables in a fire.

This might not seem like a big deal, but if your cash is lost in a fire, only a very small amount will be covered by your insurance…

And recovering other important documents can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming.

Fire Blanket

For small kitchen fires, a good compliment to your fire extinguisher is a fire blanket.

These one-time-use fiberglass blankets are capable of smothering liquid and grease fires…

Image: Hot Headz

And the best part, unlike a fire extinguisher, they don’t create a mess if you’re just putting out a grease fire in your kitchen.

The main downside to a fire blanket is that it’s not as robust as a fire extinguisher, so it’s limited to the size of the fire it can extinguish.

But for a small, controlled grease fire on your stove, it quickly gets the job done.

Additionally, you can also use a fire blanket to wrap around yourself when you’re escaping your building during a fire.

A word of caution, however, you will end up with a handful of fiberglass slivers and skin irritation using these blankets to escape…

But itchy skin from fiberglass versus burnt skin is a tradeoff I’m willing to make.


A fire breaking out in your apartment is one of the most likely survival situations you’re going to face.

And when it does happen…

You will be grateful you picked up the gear you need.

Both to be alerted of the fire and increase your chances of making it out alive.

So now you know exactly what pieces of gear you need to acquire, test, and ensure you have stored in the right locations so it’s ready when your building fire alarm gets triggered.

If you have any questions about these pieces of gear, or there are any other pieces of gear you keep in your apartment for fire safety, let me know in the comments.


About the Author

Kevin is the co-founder of Go Time Gear.

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