Your Safety

Full Width Image -

High-Rise Buildings

You should always have a fire escape plan and know what to do in an emergency. Make sure your flat is as fire and smoke proof as it can be, ensuring that you keep hazards and obstructions clear from doors and hallways.

We can provide essential information about smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms.

If a fire is in your flat

  • Follow your fire escape plan
  • Shout to alert the household and get out quickly
  • If smoke is present keep low, crawl if you need to get below the smoke level
  • Close doors behind you including the front door to prevent smoke and fire spread
  • Don’t return to investigate or fight the fire
  • Don’t use the lifts always take the stairs to exit the building

Call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

If a fire is not in your flat

  • If a smoke alarm is sounding in a communal area or you smell smoke call the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Stay in your flat and keep the front door closed
  • Pack a towel or sheets around the bottom of the front door to stop smoke getting in
  • Go to an open window and wait for the arrival of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Only leave the safety of your flat if you're affected by heat or smoke, or if you're told to leave by firefighters or the Police.

If you are trapped

  • In the unlikely event of becoming trapped by fire in your home, go to your “safe room“ and gather everyone there
  • Call the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as soon as possible and protect the room by packing bedding or towels around the door to help block the smoke
  • Open the window to breathe clean air and try attracting attention by waving a sheet
  • Gather on a balcony if one is accessible

If there is a fire don't be alarmed by the scale of our presence as we need a large amount of resources to get our equipment from the ground up to the floor of the fire. DO NOT JUMP we will be on our way.

You are at no more risk of having a house fire than those living in other types of houses.

If you live in a high-rise flat that has a lift - NEVER use it when evacuating the building


Fires in high-rise buildings

Residential high rise buildings are designed and built based on structural compartmentation of each floor. This means that flats are designed to resist the spread of fire, limiting the fire growth, development, and spread inside compartments. 

This design also assumes that a person escaping from a fire within such a compartment will pass through a protected opening in a fire-division wall and then make their way to an ultimate place of safety in the open air at ground level.

All high rise buildings in Scotland have specific structural fire protection and fixed installations in accordance with current regulations. This includes: 

  • Typically, the staircase(s) within blocks of flats are enclosed in fire-resisting material and access to them should be through self-closing fire-resisting doors. 
  • Most doors are fire-resisting and have self-closing devices. All doors should never be wedged open and access doors should be kept secure to prevent intruders from starting deliberate fires.

Firefighting in high-rise buildings

We primarily tackle fire within high-rise buildings internally using main jets connected to a riser.

Our crews may utilise lifts, fire alarm panels, fire doors and dry riser landing valves during any firefighting operation. If you see any damage to these devices, please report it immediately.

In conducting rescues from fire-related emergencies, we have operational policies, equipment and training in place to prioritise rescues via internal routes, especially in multi-storey or high-rise buildings.

Internal rescues are carried out by trained firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, supported and protected by building construction standards and specialist equipment such as smoke hoods, thermal image cameras and ventilation.

External rescues from fire-related emergencies are extremely rare however in the unlikely event that this is required, we have a disposition of 16 specialist High Reach Appliances (HRAs) strategically located across Scotland. These vehicles are more often to assist in tackling fires at height, for inspections or as water towers.

Keeping your building safe

Keeping communal areas clear will protect escape routes and reduce the risk of deliberate fires. No refuse bags, combustible materials or items of furniture should be stored in common areas such as stairways, corridors or drying rooms within a building.

Lifts, fire alarm panels, fire doors and dry riser landing valves are there to assist with firefighting operations. If you see damage to any of these features, please report it immediately.

Most doors in common areas are fire-resisting and fitted with self-closing devices and should never be wedged open. Bin rooms and access doors to the building should be kept secure to prevent intruders from starting deliberate fires.

There should be no gas cylinders, flammable liquids or fuels stored or used within a high-rise building. Emergency vehicle parking areas should be kept clear to allow firefighters access to fire hydrants and the building quickly in the event of fire.

Our External Cladding Statement

We have received a number of enquiries regarding a need for homeowners to provide an assessment of external cladding material on their property to financial lenders. In response to these enquiries, we have produced the following position statement.

Grenfell Inquiry phase 1 recommendations

The Scottish Government recently published its response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations produced for Scottish Ministers by the Scottish Government Grenfell Inquiry Fire Safety Working Group (GIFSWG). This can be found here.

For more information on fire safety, check out