High Rise Emergency Preparedness – A Closer Look at High Rise Safety


Emergencies can happen at any time or place. The City of Vaughan, led by Vaughan Fire and Rescue, is prepared to assist citizens during all types of emergencies. However, while the City is doing its part, residents also have an important role to play in emergency preparedness.

High-rise buildings are designed to be more fire-safe than the average single-family dwelling. Floors and ceilings are constructed with fire-resistant materials and are separated into fire compartments. However, in the event of a fire, residents who live in high-rise buildings may be required to evacuate, asked to stay inside (shelter in place) or experience power outages for extended periods of time. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself, your loved ones and your property.

IF THERE IS A FIRE IN YOUR UNIT:

  • Tell everyone in your unit to leave and CLOSE, but don’t lock, all doors behind you
  • Pull the fire alarm on your floor and yell “fire”
  • Leave the building using the nearest exit stairway; DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR
  • Call the fire department at 9-1-1 from a safe location – never assume this has been done
  • Meet the firefighters when they arrive and tell them where the fire is

TO STAY OR GO? 

Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as possible. But in some cases you may to be able to leave and you may have to stay in your apartment. WHETHER YOU DECIDE TO STAY OR GO, YOU MUST ACT QUICKLY AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SMOKE.

IF YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE THE BUILDING, WHEN YOU HEAR THE FIRE ALARM:

  • Feel the door to your unit before opening it. If it is hot, use another way out. If it is cool, leave the building immediately, using the closest stairway
  • CLOSE ALL DOORS BEHIND YOU
  • DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR
  • If you encounter smoke in the stairway, use another stairway
  • If this is not an option, return to your unit, or seek shelter in another unit
  • If an announcement is made throughout the building, listen carefully and follow directions

IF YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF YOUR UNIT OR YOU DECIDE TO STAY IN YOUR UNIT:

  • Stay in your apartment until you are rescued or until you are told to leave. This may take a long time.
  • DO NOT try to leave your apartment a long time after the alarm has sounded. The longer you wait, the more risk there is that heavy smoke will have spread into stairways and corridors. Your chances of survival are less.
  • Keep smoke from entering your apartment. Use duct tape to seal cracks around the door and place wet towels at the bottom. Seal vents or air ducts the same way.

IF SMOKE ENTERS YOUR APARTMENT:

  • If you don’t have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room, close the door and seal it with tape and towels. If necessary, open the window for fresh air. Show emergency personnel where you are by hanging a sheet from the window or balcony.
  • Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner.
  • Listen for instructions from firefighters.
  • CALL 9-1-1.

Know your Risks. Make a Plan. Prepare a Kit. 

For more information on high rise fire safety and how you and your loved ones can be prepared, please visit: vaughan.ca/HighriseSafety

Click on the tiles below for more information about Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services.