Devon Doyle Newport Beach

Fire Safety in High-Rise Buildings: Special Considerations for Vertical Evacuation

Devin Doyle of Newport Beach reviews the unique challenges of fire safety in tall buildings.

High-rise buildings can pose significant challenges to those who must evacuate quickly in case of fire. Below, Devin Doyle of Newport Beach will review the unique challenges of fire safety in tall buildings, focusing on evacuation strategies, fire suppression systems, and coordination with local authorities.

Strategies for Evacuating a Tall Building

People living or working in a high-rise need to pay special attention to fire safety instructions as they may differ from behavior in buildings with fewer floors. The most important thing is to know the plan – make sure you are familiar with the emergency evacuation plan, including routes, alternatives, and meeting places, and practice several times with family or colleagues to ensure that it’s easy to find exits, open doors, and know the fastest way out.

Evacuation Strategies

Fire safety officials may offer an evacuation grid if your building is large enough. Make sure to note on it where any staircases are, as you should always use stairs rather than elevators when evacuating – no matter how high up you are. If someone in your family has trouble on the stairs, plan ahead and research contingency plans.

When unable to exit an apartment or office due to smoke or fire, contact local authorities and then seal yourself in for safety, gathering in a room with a window and putting as many walls and closed doors between yourself and the source as possible. Use damp towels or duct tape to seal air vents and doors.

No matter where you are, always stay low as smoke rises. Open windows at the top but never break them, lest smoke creep in from the outside.

Fire Suppression Systems

All high-rise buildings should be equipped with automatic sprinkler systems, which can often extinguish a fire faster than it will take the fire department to arrive. If your building does not seem to have a sprinkler, contact management immediately to inquire about alternatives.

Buildings may also be equipped with standpipe systems, which are similar to the aforementioned sprinklers in that they pump and spray water, but these are not automatic and are instead operated by emergency or building personnel. The pipes can connect to a water source outside of the building, such as a firetruck.

Devin Doyle of Newport Beach

Coordination with Local Authorities

If you see or smell smoke or fire, immediately contact emergency services (911) to get help and stay on the line if needed. Do so on your cell phone, though, so you can begin evacuating as needed. Remember to follow the direction of local authorities, even if it seems counterintuitive, as they may have a better understanding of the overall state of the building than you do from your vantage point.

Keep the authorities apprised of your whereabouts by phone or, if they are on site, by signaling them from the window so they know where to find you. Use light colored cloth or a flashlight to get their attention.

In Conclusion

Fire safety in high-rise buildings includes ensuring proper automated sprinkler and standpipe systems are in place; planning in advance for an evacuation route using the stairs and staying low; and working with local authorities, including signaling to them from windows so they can note your location.

By Devon Doyle Newport Beach

Devon Doyle Newport Beach