For large buildings, the same rule applies in the event of a fire as for private homes: leave the building and stay outside!
Large buildings are subject to special construction regulations, as firefighters can no longer intervene from outside to save people and extinguish sources of fire. On the other hand, by respecting some important rules of conduct, everyone can contribute enormously to their personal safety. Large buildings are defined as buildings with a minimum of eight floors or a height of more than 22 metres.
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• Look for all emergency exits and remember where the fire extinguishers and alarm buttons are located.
• Keep track of the number of doors between your apartment and the emergency exits so you can find them again in the dark.
• Make sure your children know what they have to do too.
• Fire doors prevent or slow the progression of smoke and flames. Never block these doors with shims or similar objects.
• In the event that an emergency exit passes through your balcony, make sure that it is clear and accessible at all times.
• Never store combustible materials in stairwells and corridors. Shoe cabinets and wardrobes have no place in it.
Find out who in your building is responsible for maintenance and security systems (fire doors, fire detectors, etc.) Report any defects immediately. If the problem is not resolved, contact the building manager, the appropriate building inspectorate, fire inspector or fire department.
If you run away
• Quickly leave the area in danger and close all doors behind you to slow the progression of fire and smoke.
• If you see flames and smoke in front of you, use another exit.
• If you must cross a smoky area, move as close to the ground as possible. At 60 cm above the ground, the air is the cleanest and clearest view due to the rise of heat and smoke.
• Before opening a door, touch the handle with your fingertips. If it is hot or if you feel heat on the door, do not open it. If you do not feel any heat, open the door carefully. Close it immediately if smoke or heat penetrates.
• In case of fire, never use an elevator. You could get stuck there or the elevator could stop at a burning floor. When you are out, tell the fire brigade where other people are locked up. Under no circumstances should you return to the building. It can only be re-entered with the permission of the fire brigade or police.
If you need to stay inside the building
• If you cannot leave the building (or are forced to stay), go to a room with a window and a phone. Close all doors that separate you from the fire.
• Call the fire department at 118 and tell them exactly where you are in the building. Do the same if the fire brigade is already on site.
• Seal all doors with tape or fill any gaps around the doors with damp cloths or whatever you find within reach. Do the same for fans and ventilation grilles.
• Wait at the window and try with a lamp or gestures to get noticed.
• Open the window to let in fresh air, but close it immediately if smoke enters from the outside. Do not push the window in.
• Be patient and try to stay calm.
By using simple means such as portable fire extinguishers, fire blankets or fire stations, it is often possible to prevent the spread of a fire and avoid costly damage.