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NYC Hazards: Fire


If your smoke detector goes off or if you notice a fire, remain calm. Do not try to fight a major fire.


  • Keep a portable ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher in your home. Wet K class extinguishers are recommended for stove top fires.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of each bedroom entrance. Check the batteries at least twice a year, like during daylight saving times.
    • Carbon monoxide detectors should not be placed within five feet of any cooking appliance.
    • If you have a smoke alarm near the kitchen, consider installing a photoelectric alarm. These alarms are less sensitive to cooking smoke.


  • If a fire breaks out in your house or non-fireproof apartment building (generally six stories or fewer), get everyone out as soon as possible and close (but do not lock) all doors behind you.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, Stop where you are, Drop to the ground, and Roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover your face to protect your lungs from the smoke.
  • If you live in a high-rise multiple dwelling, and the fire is not in your apartment, stay in your apartment rather than entering smoke-filled hallways. Keep windows closed, especially if the fire is in the apartment below.
  • In high-rise office buildings, only evacuate if the fire is on your floor or the one above it, and descend to the second floor below the fire floor. Other occupants should stay on their floor and monitor the PA system for further instructions. (Note: evacuation of other floors may be left to the fires safety director to announce to occupants.)
  • Feel doors with the back of your hand before you open them. If they are hot, find another way out.
  • When exiting, stay as close to the floor as possible — smoke and heat rise and the air is clearer and cooler near the floor. Close doors behind you. 
  • If you are unable to get out of your home for any reason, stay near a window and close to the floor. Close the door and stuff the bottom with a towel to avoid smoke. If possible, signal for help by waving a cloth outside the window.
  • Call 911 from a safe place, such as a neighbor's house.
  • Do not stop to get anything. 
  • Do not use the elevator. 
  • Consider renter's insurance if you rent an apartment.
  • For more fire safety information, refer to the FDNY's fire safety publications, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit 311 online.

Brush fire

Brush Fires

As temperatures climb and vegetation dries out, New York City's outer-borough grasslands face an increased risk of brush fires. Find out what you can do to help minimize that risk.
Learn more about brush fire safety

More Resources
Fire Safety (FDNY)