Know the drill for housing fire safety


USAG Wiesbaden Fire Department

Walls and doors in on-post, multi-story apartment homes are designed to withstand fire until help arrives. To amplify this safety effect, items that could catch fire should not be left in stairways, and basement doors should be kept closed.

Housing at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden is built to protect Families from fire hazards. This is the reason residents don’t see fire escapes on multi-story dwellings, a familiar sight in the states.
Only one exit is required because walls are built out of brick and concrete, and fire doors are designed to withstand fire for a certain amount of time.
The fire rating for interior walls is one hour; exterior and stairwell walls, 90 minutes; apartment doors, 30 minutes and basement doors, 90 minutes.
This doesn’t mean residents don’t need to think about fire safety.
Items that can burn, such as furniture, strollers and toys, should not be placed in stairwells. These items can be stored in basement areas with the doors closed to leave stairwells open for evacuation in case of a fire.
If a fire starts in an apartment, residents should close the door as they evacuate to prevent fire and smoke from entering the stairwell.
Buildings also have fire alarm systems with smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are the early warning for everyone in the building. Before flames get big, the smoke will trigger a smoke detector, which will initiate a fire alarm. The alarm, in such an early stage of a fire, ensures a smoke free stairwell for emergency exit.
This also works the other way around.
If residents cannot evacuate due to smoke in the stairwell, they should close their apartment doors. The doors are designed to keep smoke from passing and are not compromised until fire is at the door.
In this case, residents should call the fire department and go to a window near the road where they can be evacuated by the fire department. Response time for the fire department is less than 10 minutes. However, reacting immediately to any fire alarm will prevent this situation because flames do not develop that quickly.
Newly renovated, multi-Family buildings are also equipped with sprinkler systems, which will keep fires smaller. Once these initiate, however, everyone should already be evacuated from the building. Smoke detectors will alert residents to the fire before the sprinklers reach 134°F and activate.
While measures are in place to keep Families safe, it is always important to have a plan and make sure children know what to do in case of a fire or other emergency. Visit www.sparky.org for information and activities for children to learn about fire safety.