How To Find Out If Your Building Is At Higher Risk During Fire

Chances are when you look for a new place to live you focus on the amenities and the space but you don't ask how old is the building or if meets all the fire safety codes.

Vernon's Fire Marshall Danny Rozzell says those are just part of a long list of questions you should ask to learn if you're building is more at risk. Fire safety codes have changed over the years and older buildings didn't require things like fire walls that could stop a fire from spreading quickly.

"They didn't have the dividers of fire walls in there. When the fire, if it did get up into the attic it had all that room and air to spread," said Rozzell.

New buildings do require firewalls. In fact they have other safety features that old buildings don't have and in some cases won't have unless they're remodeled. Rozzell says you should always ask realtors or landlords if the building is up to code. Ask for smoke detectors or sprinkler systems.

Rozzell says you should also look out for, "An escape plan around an apartment complex, how to get out of there and know which way to go and probably have it up in a wall somewhere so you will know the routes."

Cari Pike manages several historical buildings in downtown Wichita Falls for R.C. Graham Inc. She says they're aware that old buildings are more at risk so they have several fire safety features in place. But they also encourage tenants to buy renters insurance.

Pike says, "If they were to be in a fire or a flood and they were to lose everything, most people don't have the money to replace their things right off hand or they look to us to replace their things for them and that's not our responsibility."

Rozzell says there's one other important question you should ask that doesn't have to do with fire safety technology.

"It's not just you that you have to worry about. You can be as safe as you want to be. But are your neighbors safe. That's something else to know when you're looking at apartments. What kind of people live there," said Rozzell.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6