AUSTIN (KXAN) - Knowing your emergency plan can be the best way prevent or survive an apartment fire. But renters are not alone in that responsibility - the apartment managers themselves have a big duty to protect and inform.
When you sign your lease, you want those officials to point out very clearly where you can find the apartment's emergency plan - an evacuation route, exits and smoke alarms locations.
But the Austin Apartment Association said properties do not have to file this with the city. Part of AAA President Sandy Eckhardt's job is to make sure people living there have access to that plan.
"It's pretty common practice for apartment communities to have an emergency response plan," said Eckhardt.
The emergency plan should include knowing where smoke detectors are located, when to replace them, and what to do when they go off.
"The last thing we want is for this fire alarm to go off repeatedly over and over and over and everybody gets conditioned to it, saying 'Oh, there may or may not be an emergency," said Austin Fire Department Lt. Josh Portie. "We'll find out about it somehow.'"
Every unit must have a fire extinguisher by code, so renters should also know their location. And if a fire breaks out, renters should know how to leave safely.
"Know your property, and identify those evacuation routes and have easy access to management so we can - in the event of an emergency - be available to assist," said Eckhardt to property staff citywide.
Eckhardt said renters can do their part by checking out all of those features and their locations when they sign their lease.
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