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Grab These Essential Items When a Fire Alarm Goes Off in Your Apartment

by Gabe Herrera

When you hear the fire alarm ring in your apartment building or condo, you might be initially tempted to stay in your unit—but it's important, in the interest of your safety, to descend the stairs and exit the building. It's a good idea to get outside quickly, but it doesn't hurt to first grab a few items that will make your outdoor stay more comfortable; this is especially important if it tends to be a while before you and the other residents are allowed back in the building. Here are some essential items to quickly grab and carry down with you.

Car Keys

Many people will be quick to grab their smartphone when they need to something that will help them kill time outside during a fire alarm, but it's important to think more about your comfort than your entertainment. Grabbing your car keys on the way out means that as long as your vehicle isn't parked in the underground garage (which would likely be off-limits while the fire alarm on going off) you can go sit in it. Doing so is much more comfortable than standing in the parking lot, and if the alarm woke you in the middle of the night, you might even wish to push your seat back and have a nap while you wait.


Unless the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the summer, it can be chilly to stand outside—especially in the night and especially if you were woken up by the alarm. You'll be far more comfortable during the wait if you grab a blanket off the couch on the way out of your unit. If you can access your car, the blanket can further increase your coziness. If your car is off-limits, even standing or sitting with the blanket wrapped around you can make you more comfortable as you wait the signal to head back inside.


In your rush to leave your unit, don't forget your wallet. If the weather is unpleasant outside, you might wish to walk over to a retail business that will provide shelter, but it's poor etiquette to simply stand in a coffee shop and not order anything. Keeping your wallet handy means that you can make a nominal purchase, such as a bottle of water, and sip it while you enjoy the comfort and shelter that being in the building provides for you.