Well I'm still a newb as well so anyone feel free to correct me, but like Gmac said. If your going to be starting with extract kits. You really don't have much to worry about. Assuming your boiling in your apartment which should be just fine. Just make sure that you invest in something to take gravity readings. If your buying a starter kit, most come with a hydrometer. The only explosions I can think of that you might be worried about is exploding bottles. That happens when the gravity is too high and the yeast have too much sugar to ferment within the bottle, which in turn produces co2. A little is good cause it makes carbonation in your beer. A lot will make a bottle blow up in your face! Well probably not really you'll just have a mess to clean. But the general rule is 1 week in the first fermenter. 2 in the second fermenter. I'm guessing 3 weeks if your only using one fermenter.
If your thinking of going all grain. I don't know if I would suggest doing that in most basements. It requires a propane burner and i'm not so sure that would be the best idea, unless the basement has really good ventilation and you don't have fire hazards. This is the same reason I don't have the oppertunity to go all grain right now.
I wish I could go all grain though. I love brewing beer. But I can make some pretty good beer with extract. I've even made a few recipes from scratch that have turned out pretty dang good.