Emergencies and disasters can occur anytime, anywhere. This page provides general information about moving safety and the prevention of fire while you are moving into your new home/apartment. We, at the Alachua County Department of Fire Rescue Services, hope that you will find this information useful and that it will assist you in preventing fire emergencies. Planning ahead can make the difference in the severity of emergencies you encounter during your move.
Your Escape Plan
You and your family/roomates should develop a fire escape plan as soon as you move in. As a personal safety precaution, it is critically important that you locate your "fire exits" as soon as you move in to your new home/apartment. Everyone living in your home should learn a minimum of two routes of escape from your home during a fire emergency. Then your plan should include a designated meeting place outside your home where your family will meet responding firefighters. Once out of your home, stay out. Finally, practice your escape plan. Know your plan.
All rental living properties must have working smoke detectors. You should check your smoke detector as you move in to assure that they work. (New residents should be confident that their smoke detector will alert them if there is a fire). You should check the detector for a battery, then test the alarm by depressing the "test" button. If the battery is missing or the detector does not work, notify your landlord immediately.
Medical Heat Emergencies
In order to prevent the emergencies of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, drink plenty of fluids and keep cool as you move your belongings into your new home/apartment. If possible, move either early or late in the day, avoiding the midday heat.
Know the location of the fire extinguisher in your new home/apartment. Unfortunately, we have found that many home/apartment renters are unable to locate their extinguisher when a fire emergency occurs. Most small fires (trash, pot on stove, ect.) can be extinguished with portable extinguishers by the occupant. It is important that you report all fires to your fire department immediately, even those extinguished by yourself.
Storage of Boxes
Be fire safety conscious as you move in and unpack. Do not place belongings or packing materials on top of kitchen stoves. (We have found that this is a common cause of fires). Often new residents move into homes/apartments before the utility company has turned on the electricity. Should the electric stove be left on, any materials left on the stove will ignite causing a fire when the electricity is turned on. Additionally, heat generating appliances such as water heaters, space heaters, and dryers must not have boxes and other items stored close. Such materials will ignite causing fire in the home/apartment.
Prior to power being turned on, make sure all appliances are off. Once power has been turned on, verify that all appliances are functioning properly.
Carbon Monoxide is the "silent killer." It is an odorless and colorless gas that can kill. Carbon Monoxide is produced by improperly operating gas or oil fueled heating appliances and fire places. All gas and oil fueled appliances should be inspected and adjusted by trained service personnel. Flues and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by trained chimney sweeps.
Your Fire Rescue Department recommends that Carbon Monoxide detectors be installed in homes/apartments that use gas/oil fueled appliances, wood stoves and fire places. Properly operating detectors will provide timely warning of accumulations of this dangerous gas.