Preparing and practising a plan of action will help you act quickly if there’s a fire in your home – it could even save your life. When you make an escape plan, involve everyone who lives in your home, including children, older or disabled people and any lodgers.
Here are some tips to help you plan your escape from fire:
The first priority is to keep people safe by getting them out of the building. If you can’t escape, you’ll need to find a room to take refuge in. This is especially important if you have difficulty moving around or going downstairs on your own.
If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room:
Decide where the keys to doors and windows should be kept and always keep them there. Make sure everyone in your household knows where they are.
Once you have made your plan, go through it with everyone in the household. You could also put a reminder of what to do in a fire somewhere where it will be seen regularly, like on the fridge door and put your address by the phone so that children can read it out to the emergency services.
Make sure you have ‘walked through’ the plan with everyone in your household. Regularly remind everyone of what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a fire. See What to do if there is a fire for more information about escaping from a fire.
Your family or housemates may be familiar with your house or flat, but your guests may not be. If you have guests staying overnight tell them where the keys are kept and give them information about anything in the house they may not be familiar with, like how to unlock your front door. It’s particularly important to provide some fire safety information if you are hosting a party and people are drinking alcohol. Also, the risk of fire during celebrations may be higher due to candles, cooking and cigarettes. Click here for more information about candles, cooking and smoking safely.
Living above the first floor doesn’t necessarily make you any more at risk from fire. High-rise flats are built to be fire-proof: walls, ceilings and doors will hold back flames and smoke. Most of your planning should be the same as homes at ground level, but there are some key differences:
If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, you are usually safest in your own flat, unless heat or smoke is affecting you. If you are affected, you should get out, stay out and call 999.