Apartment safety tips from the DeKalb fire and Police departments

By Zachary Brictson

 DeKalb’s police and fire departments have advice for staying safe in an apartment.

“Do your best to know your neighbors,” said DeKalb Police Lt. Gary Spangler.

Spangler said it’s always important for renters to be aware of their surroundings and of the people around them.

“Call the police to report anything suspicious around your apartment,” Spangler said.

Spangler’s safety tips include locking doors and windows before going to sleep, restricting views into windows and keeping valuables out of sight. Spangler also suggested not allowing strangers to attend parties, as it is usually in this situation that items go missing.

To compensate for possible theft, Spangler said to take photographs of your personal items and keep track of serial numbers on electronic devices.

Fire safety

Fires are another threat to safety while living in an apartment.

Lt. Karl Froehlich, DeKalb fire prevention officer, said following the rules and common sense are among the most important aspects of fire prevention.

Froehlich said the leading cause of fires in the home is unattended cooking.

“Alcohol also often plays a factor,” Froehlich said. “It always takes a person to get [a fire] started.”

Mason Properties owner Jim Mason said space heaters and candles can cause fires.

“Extension cords are the worst,” Mason said.

Mason said tenants should use power strips and try not to overload the circuits. Also, grilling should only be done six to eight feet away from the apartment.

An employee of Suburban Estates who wished to remain anonymous recommended to keep a clean living space, especially stove tops as grease fires have been a more common issue.

Kristine Crews, building manager for Gideon Court Apartments, said the smoke detectors in the common areas of the apartment complex are hard-wired to the fire department.

“Keeping children and combustible objects away from hazardous areas is an important precaution,” Crews said.

Two weeks ago, an overheated elevator motor caused smoke to spread throughout the building but the situation was handled well by staff and tenants, Crews said.

Crews said she is looking forward to an upcoming visit from Froehlich, who will run through safety procedures with tenants and employees.

“We as people have to be aware of what we’re doing,” Froehlich said.

Calls to other rental properties were attempted but not returned by press time.