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Preventing Fire Losses

posted Mar 21, 2012, 8:10 AM by Marc Donner   [ updated Mar 21, 2012, 8:11 AM ]

As most of you know there was a fire in a 205 West End apartment on January 28th. Thanks to prompt and effective action by the Fire Department and vigorous follow up by our staff, there were no injuries, and the property damage was smaller than it could have been.

This incident gives us all an incentive to review our own preparations for the unwelcome possibility of fire in our apartments. The board is taking this opportunity to urge all members of our community to take action, as necessary, on several important points:

  • Fire safety in your apartment

  • Emergency preparation

  • Appropriate insurance for your household

Fire safety

A low quality electrical cord whose insulation had failed, leading to a short circuit that ignited furniture in an apartment, caused the fire.

Please review the electrical facilities in your apartment and replace any that are old, frayed, or low quality. The cost and inconvenience are tiny compared to those of a fire.

The Co-op has installed alarms that detect smoke and carbon monoxide in every apartment in 205. Please make sure that yours is functioning and that the battery is fresh. The best practice is to replace the battery twice a year, when we change the clocks. If you have a problem changing the battery, please ask for help and Mr. Finneran will send one of the staff to help.

Emergency preparation

Each year the Co-op distributes an emergency preparedness brochure prepared by the Fire Department. Please review that brochure carefully with all of the members of your household. The brochure includes a portion that you should display on the inside of your front door.

Appropriate insurance

The building maintains an insurance policy that protects the structure and the main elements of the building’s infrastructure. It does not protect your possessions and other contents of your apartment from loss due to an emergency like a fire in your apartment, nor does it protect them in case of damage from fire or water or other consequences of fighting and putting out a fire nearby.

Your best protection for your possessions and your personal finances is to have an appropriate apartment policy that covers both the contents and your liability for damage to your neighbors in the event that something untoward originates in your apartment.

Next steps

The Co-op will be arranging for presentations by fire safety experts to be held periodically in the Community Room and will reprint and distribute the fire safety and emergency guidelines that are provided by the Fire Department and the City.

After you have addressed the three issues outlined in the letter, please watch for announcements of presentations.