Most Condo Fires Caused by Cooking

January 2016

What is Your Fire Safety Plan

Fires in condo buildings can result from many sources such as cooking, heating equipment, smoking, electrical failure or an open flame – matches, lighters, candles.

The majority of fires are caused by cooking when the cooking area was not monitored. Residents who have been forgetful, distracted or even asleep have been the cause of many cooking related fires.

Management should have a plan in place for dealing with such emergencies that is provided to all residents as they move in. The plan should be updated as appropriate with current information being provided to all residents.

Communicating this information is important and should be done utilizing all available communication channels. Provide a verbal reminder at an information meeting. Mention the plan in newsletter and e-mail communications. Including mention of fire safety in a package of other information increases the likelihood it will be missed or ignored and should be avoided.

The best time to communicate fire safety information is when there has been a condominium fire in the news. Awareness and concern is highest. Identifying the consequences of a condo building fire, including cost and displacement of residents, will help to ensure these messages are not ignored. Charging condo residents for the cost of a fire alarm will also help to get their attention. In all cases, be sure to direct residents to where they can access fire safety information.

Despite more dramatic consequences of a fire in a high-rise residential building, the reality is that such buildings are usually safer and have fewer fires than single family dwellings. In a high-rise residential building major systems are maintained by the building’s management. Fire and smoke detectors, alarms and sprinkler systems all help to make high-rise buildings safer. High-rise buildings and their safety features are subject to greater regulation and periodic inspections to ensure they are adequately maintained.