Emergency Preparedness in Apartment and Condominiums


Make a plan

Emergencies can happen when you least expect them. That’s why it is important to develop an emergency plan and prepare yourself and your loved ones. The Emergency Preparedness Action Plan for your household should:

  • identify the building management’s name and contact phone number; location of emergency exits and where to assemble if the building is evacuated;
  • include information related to any special needs such as medical history and medications.

Build a kit

Make sure to have these suggested items on hand and store them in a location where they can be easily located and reached by everyone in your home:

  • food and water for all occupants and pets for at least 72 hours
  • extra clothing
  • a flashlight and radio
  • Towel or sheet to hang out of a window or balcony to identify your location to emergency services
  • copies of important documents including passports, bank account numbers, credit
  • cards, health cards and photo IDs
  • cash on hand
  • cell phone or mobile device, with alternate battery, car charger or portable battery bank
  • required medications and child care supplies

Stay informed

Ontario’s Emergency Public Warning System is a tool that provides timely and accurate information to Ontario residents, businesses and visitors during an emergency. The system allows Ontarians to receive three types of warnings – Red Alerts, Emergency Information Advisories and Tornado Warnings.

  • Sign up for public alerting at ontario.ca/beprepared
  • Follow @ontariowarnings on Twitter and
  • Facebook.com/emergencymanagementontario


If you must evacuate, follow the directions of building management and/or emergency personnel. If you have time and it is safe to do so:

  • take your emergency survival kit
  • turn off lights and appliances (except your refrigerator)
  • lock your doors

Fire Safety in Apartments and Condominiums

*When you live in an apartment or condominium, it is important to review your building’s fire safety plan for information about fire safety features and evacuation procedures. Learn and practice the escape route from your specific unit.

When you hear the fire alarm:

  • Leave the building immediately, using the closest stairway.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • 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.
  • Call 9-1-1 and let them know where you are.

If there is a fire in your unit:

  • Tell everyone in the unit to leave.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Pull the fire alarm on your floor and yell “fire”.
  • Leave the building using the nearest stairway.*
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are safe.
  • Meet the firefighters and tell them where the fire is.

To reduce fire risk during a power outage, the Office of the Fire Marshal andEmergency Management offers the following safety tips:

  • Electrically-connected smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms will not work when the power is out. Make sure these devices have battery back-ups.
  • Plan and practice your escape plan before emergencies happen.
  • Wherever possible, use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns. If using candles, place them in a secure holder and cover them with a glass chimney, away from children and pets.
  • Propane and charcoal barbecues are for outdoor use only. Before you grill, check with building management and/or your municipality about any restrictions.
  • Use only portable space heaters that have been designed for indoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Provide adequate ventilation by opening a window slightly while the heater is in use. Before refuelling, turn off the heater, wait for it to cool and take the heater outside to refuel.
  • Make sure electric stove elements and small appliances are OFF or unplugged to prevent fires from occurring when the electricity is restored.
  • Cordless phones will not work when the power is out, so it is recommended to have at least one phone that does not require electricity to operate.