Apartment Fire Safety

Smoke detector surrounded by smoke

There are special areas of concern when it comes to fire safety in apartment buildings. Residents in apartment buildings live closer together and they affect each other’s fire risk. The chances of starting a fire in an apartment are about the same as in a single-family home, but apartment fires can spread quickly throughout the building.

Smoke detectors and extinguishers

Every apartment must have working smoke detectors and at least one fire extinguisher (minimum 2.5-pound ABC extinguisher with indicating gauge). It is your landlord’s responsibility to provide them and repair them when needed.

As a tenant, your responsibilities are:  

  • Ensure you have clean, operational smoke detectors.  
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, if applicable. 

Grills and fire pits

Charcoal grills and other open-flame cooking devices, like pellet-fed grills, may not be used or stored on apartment balconies made of combustible materials, like wood, or within 10 feet of a building. 

Propane grills may be used on decks and patios if the patio or balcony is protected by an automatic sprinkler system. 

Some apartment complexes may be more restrictive so check with your property manager before using a grill.

Propane containers, whether empty or full, may not be stored on decks, patios, or in basements, garages, or storage areas. 

Fire pits, chimineas, and other open flame devices are not allowed on apartment decks and patios.

Fire code amendments for apartment managers(PDF, 547KB)