In today’s high rise world, it is crucial to have a safe fire escape plan in the event of disaster. High rise buildings today, whether residential or commercial, are often equipped with an emergency voice communication system which can help guide you and tell you what the best course of action is. Depending on what floor you are on and on what floor the fire is, the emergency responders will determine how and if you should escape.
If you are on a lower floor and the fire is above you, it would be safest to calmly evacuate the building and make sure all family members or coworkers are safe and accounted for. It is important to remember that even if you are only descending one floor, the elevator should never be used in an emergency situation as elevators may break, take you to the floor that has the fire, or expose you to smoke.
Living on a higher floor means having a different plan for a fire and again, it is important to listen to the safety instructions of the voice system. Simply running out in the hallway and trying to descend many flights of stairs may not be a good idea as you may be exposed to smoke or even fire itself depending on the source of the fire. The communication system may inform you that the fire is several floors above and in that situation it is likely the safest option is to descend using the stairs, remembering to remain calm and collected.
Sometimes, if the fire is contained and you are above the fire, you may be informed to remain on your floor and await further instructions. Many buildings have advanced sprinkler systems that can contain a fire even before the firefighters arrive and remaining where you are may be the safest option.
In rare and severe cases there are other safe ways to exit a building and avoid life threatening disaster. Personal rescue devices such as SkySaver allow you to safely escape through your window and work up to 25 stories high. In our fragile world of terrorism and high-rise fires, familiarizing yourself with alternative forms of escape could be crucial to saving your life.
Joseph Schwartz is originally from Toronto and works as the Content Manager at SkySaver. Joseph always spent his summers at summer camps teaching outdoor skills and leading hikes. His background is in teaching and marketing and he is always looking to learn new survival skills and share knowledge with others. “Who is wise? The one who learns from every person”