High rise fire safety

Top fire safety tips and advice if you live in a high rise building. We also offer free Safe and Well Visits, where our firefighters can visit you at home to see what they can do to help you reduce the risk of fire.

Request a Safe and Well Visit

Fit smoke alarms

  • A smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert everyone in the house to the danger of fire, giving you precious time for you and your loved ones to escape.
  • They are cheap, readily available from most DIY stores and easy to fit.
  • You should still get a smoke alarm for your own home, even if there is a fire alarm system in the common parts of the block.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and test weekly by getting into the ‘Test it Tuesday’ routine.
  • Replace the battery or alarm immediately once it starts to chirp.
  • Never disconnect or take the batteries out of the alarm if it goes off by mistake.
  • A ten year alarm needs to be completely replaced at the end of its serviceable life.

Plan your escape

  • Be prepared and make an escape plan and ensure everyone in your home knows what to do.
  • Plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape
  • Make sure exits are kept clear.
  • Avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire.
  • Check there is nothing in the corridors or stairways that could catch fire – like boxes or rubbish.
  • It is easy to get confused in smoke, so count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs.

Top fire safety tips

  • Do not overload electrical sockets – try and keep to one plug per socket and check for faulty frayed wiring.
  • Take care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended especially when cooking with hot oil – it can catch fire easily.
  • Make sure you stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully – put them right out!
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Be careful with candles and tea lights make sure they are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains. 

Bedtime Checks

  • Get into the habit of completing a bedtime check.
  • Before bedtime check that appliances are off, especially dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Ensure that all doors are closed shut as this could stop a fire from spreading and save your life.
  • Turn heaters off and put up fireguards.
  • Check exits are clear.
  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Never smoke in bed.
  • Make sure all candles are out – never leave one burning when you go to sleep.
  • Turn off electric blankets – unless it has been designed to be left on overnight and has a thermostat.

What to do if there is a fire in your flat

  • In the event of a fire you need to stay calm and act quickly.
  • Shout to let everyone in your home know.
  • Leave your home without stopping for valuables and close all doors behind you. Including the door to the room affected by the fire if possible.
  • If possible, sound the alarm on your floor using the break glass point located on each floor.
  • Leave the building by the stairs. Never use the lift.
  • When you are outside and safe call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service. Using a mobile phone, neighbours or public phone.
  • Wait in a safe area away from the smoke. Never go back into the building until the fire and rescue service tells you it is safe to do so.
  • If you can’t get out or your escape route is blocked:
    • Get everyone into one room, ideally at the front of the property, with a window that opens and if possible a phone to call 999.
    • Put bedding, cushions and towels at the bottom of the door to block out the smoke and stay at the window to signal the fire and rescue service.

If there's a fire in your building

The alarm system in your high-rise is zoned to sound on the floors directly above and below the activated floor with only intermittent soundings on other floors.

This is to prevent a mass evacuation of the entire high-rise which would cause bottle-necks on the stairs and possible injury.

  • If there is a fire in your building it should be safe to remain in your flat unless it is affected by heat or smoke.
  • The doors to your flat are fire doors and should therefore give you protection.

If you do need to evacuate, remember not to use the lift or to re-enter your flat or the building generally.

Keeping your building safe

  • Close all fire doors in the stairways and hallways and do not leave clutter or rubbish in these areas.
  • If you see damaged fire doors or rubbish in stairwells or corridors please contact Oxford City Homes.
  • Do not use bottle gas in your flat.

This information was produced by Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service and Oxford City Council.

Evacuation guidelines

Evacuation advice has is available for the following high rise building in Oxford.