Escaping a Fire

Find out what to do in an emergency to escape a fire quickly and safely

Fire escape plan

Having a fire escape plan will help you escape quickly and safely if a fire should occur.

In the event of a fire

Make sure everyone leaves immediately. Smoke and fumes can quickly overcome anyone.

Trying to tackle a fire or stopping to save goods could prove fatal. Remember, your main priority is to get out safely. Property can be replaced, but people cannot.

The only safe thing to do is get out the building, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service.

How to escape a fire

  1. If there’s smoke, crawl low where the air is clearer
  2. Never open a door if it's warm to touch, there could be fire inside
  3. Close doors behind you will slow down the spread of the fire
  4. Shout to warn your family or anyone nearby, even when you get outside
  5. Always take the stairs, never use a lift
  6. Once you are out, stay out

If you can't get out

  1. Get everyone into one room (grab a mobile phone if you can)
  2. When everyone is in the room, pack clothes, cushions, pillows or towels around the door to keep smoke out
  3. Open a window and shout for help until someone calls 999 for the Fire Service
  4. Stay at the open window for clean air and so firefighters can see you

Escaping by a window

Only ever try this if you have no other choice and are on the first floor. Never jump out of a window, unless you are sure it will be safe to do so.

  • You might be able to drop some pillows or cushions and then lower yourself from the windowsill
  • If you are leaving by a window, and there are two adults, one should go first to catch children that are passed down.
  • Pass them slowly and stretch full length before you let them go

If clothing catches fire

If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop down and roll on the ground until the flames go out.

If someone else’s clothing catches light, use a blanket, rug or thick coat to put out the flames.

How to escape a fire in a high rise building

Most high rise domestic buildings are built with the principle of ‘stay put’ in mind. This means that flats will be designed to resist the spread of fire. Because of this, a fire is not likely to spread from one flat to another.

If there is a fire in your building, but not in your flat, you should stay in your home and keep the front door closed unless:

  • you are directly affected by heat, smoke or fire
  • the Fire and Rescue Service or Police tells you to get out

It is rare for people to be trapped by fire. If you are:

  1. go to a ‘safe room’ which should have a window and a phone and gather everyone there
  2. call the Fire and Rescue Service and pack bedding or towels around the door to keep out smoke
  3. open the window to breathe clean air and try attracting attention by waving a sheet if it is safe to do so

If you have any questions, you should speak to the person responsible for fire safety in your building

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