Fires in a rental property can be stressful on your tenants and you. They can lead to tenant injury, displacement, or worse, death. Making sure your tenants have proper fire escape plans in place that they are aware of, feel confident in, and can act upon during an actual emergency is key to making sure everyone is safe during a fire.
If a fire occurs in your business, are your tenants educated on fire prevention methods and prepared if one happens? Is your rental property set up with the proper escape plans and tools in case of a fire? Creating a fire evacuation plan with your tenants is the first step to keeping everyone safe, minimizing damage, and allowing your rental property to be rebuilt to pre-loss condition faster.
Creating a Fire Evacuation Plan Checklist
The most important part of creating and implementing a fire escape plan is that you include your tenants. Since they are the ones living on your rental property, they are the ones who will be there should a fire occur. It’s key that they know the fire safety plan, are comfortable with their roles within the plan, and take ownership of it. If you own a larger building filled with many tenants, designate one or two people per floor to act as representatives.
Have a meeting with your tenants. Gather everyone together to talk about fire safety and preparing for an emergency. This will show your tenants that you care for their safety and want to make sure everyone is on the same level. Beware that if children are around, this discussion might be a little scary for them. Be sure to talk openly, but calmly to help ease their minds.
Identify potential fire hazards. Do a walk through of the building with your tenants to inspect areas of the building. As you walk around, have your tenants look for potential fire hazards like hangings wires, dead smoke detectors, lack of fire extinguishers, smoking areas too close to the building, etc. Make special note if your rental property has a communal kitchen with a working stove and microwave. Once you identify all of the potential fire hazards, create and post rules about microwave and stove safety. Post no-smoking signs where applicable or consider making your property smoke-free. Educate tenants on fire safety rules through emails, meetings, and in signage throughout your rental property.
Make a fire escape plan for emergency evacuation. Use this printable fire escape planning template as a starting point to create your fire escape plan. Draw out each floor of your rental property. Be sure to mark possible escape routes, and locations of fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and meeting area. Pick a meeting place that’s far away from your building or other potential danger areas (like an attached parking garage). The spot should be out of the way for emergency services. Make sure you have proper emergency evacuation routes for differently abled tenants, and that both they, and the people who live with them, are aware of these routes.
Do regular fire safety checks. Inspect your commercial property often, and keep up on maintenance of safety equipment. Check fire extinguishers to make sure they’re up to date, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and that your sprinkler system is in good shape. Keep your emergency safety kits stocked with the proper supplies. This may include burn gel, gauze, scissors, band aids, and both aspirin and non-aspirin products. Update your plan as your business and building conditions change.
Practice your fire evacuation plan regularly. By practicing, your tenants will be able to learn the safest routes to exit the building in the event of an emergency. If a fire ever does happen, they will more likely leave the building calming and orderly, and most importantly, safely. Practicing also allows your tenants to gain confidence in their able to evacuate the property safely at any hour. Seeing their landlord playing an active part in their safety will provide tenants with a greater sense of security.
By following these tips to create a fire protection and evacuation plan, you’re helping your tenants feel more educated, valued, and safe in their homes. And if your rental property ever does have a fire, tenants are more likely to get out quickly and safely.
Does Your Rental Property Need Fire Damage Restoration?
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. With 24/7 emergency response availability, we are there for you to help assess the situation, mitigate the damage, and make a plan to restore your rental property back to pre-loss condition. We will help you recover from commercial fire damage. Our professional team of certified, trained, and trusted advisers are experts in the fire damage restoration industry. We’ll oversee the property damage recovery with honest, reliable, and high-quality work. This will allow your tenants to quickly go back to their normal lives.
Alpha Omega is the leading disaster restoration company serving commercial and residential properties in Billings, MT and surrounding areas.