Escaping from a fire

Fire Kills - get out stay out graphicDo you know what to do if your smoke alarm goes off in the night?

Would you and your family be able to escape? In the event of a fire you need to stay calm and act quickly, make sure everyone in your house knows the escape plan.

Tips to get everyone out

  • Follow your escape plan and get out
  • Raise the alarm. Shout and get everyone together. Make sure everyone in the house knows about the fires. Do not look for the fire.
  • Get everyone out. You should have an escape route planned that everyone in your household is familiar with. The best route is the one you always use.
  • Don’t delay to look for pets.
  • Don’t delay to save valuables.
  • If there is a lot of smoke crawl along the floor as the air will be cleaner.
  • Only open the doors you need to and close any open doors you can to slow the spread of the fire.
  • Before you open any doors. Feel them with the back of your hand, if they are warm don’t open them. The fire is on the other side.
  • Make sure you stay together if you are escaping with others.
  • Remember get out, stay out, call 999.

Don’t go back in

  • You should find somewhere safe to wait near the building.
  • If there's someone still inside, wait for the Fire and Rescue Service to arrive. Tell them about the person and they will be able to find them quicker than you.
  • If you go back into the building, you will slow down the fire-fighters' efforts to rescue anyone else missing, as well as putting your own life in great danger.

If your clothes catch fire

  • Don’t run around. You will fan the flames and make them burn faster.
  • Lie down. This makes it harder for the fire to spread and reduces the effect of flames on your face and head. Flames burn upwards.
  • Smother the flames. Cover the flames with heavy material, like a coat or blanket; this blocks the fire's supply of oxygen.
  • Roll around. Rolling smothers the flames.

If your escape route is blocked

  • Be prepared. Think now about which room might be best for this. You need a window that can be opened and, if possible, a phone for calling 999
  • Get everyone into one room.
  • Close the door. Put cushions, towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block smoke.
  • Open the window for fresh air.  You can also call for help.
  • Call 999 or shout for help and get someone else to make the call.
  • If you are on the ground or in some circumstances the first floor, you may be able to escape through the window.
  • If you can throw some soft furnishings, bedding or clothing on the ground outside to break your fall.
  • Do not jump from the window, lower yourself down at arm's length and drop into the soft pile.
  • Lower children as far as possible before letting them drop. Get an adult to break their fall if you can.
  • Lower yourself by your arms from the window ledge before dropping
  • If you have to break a window use a heavy object to break it at the bottom corner. Cover any jagged edges with clothing, a towel or a blanket.

If you live in a block of flats a fire could start directly outside your flat or in the stairwell

  • Get everyone into a room with a window; put cushions, bedding, or clothes around the bottom of the door to block smoke.
  • Open the window.  If you feel in serious danger, wave a sheet out of the window so the firefighters know you're there.
  • If the fire is directly outside your flat, seal your front door with tape if you can, as well as using bedding or clothes.
  • Close any ventilators and phone 999, giving the number of your flat.
  • If your front door becomes hot, wet it down.

When you're out and safe use a mobile, neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call the emergency services

  • On dialling 999 the operator will ask you which emergency service you require.
  • Give your whole address, including the town.
  • Tell them what is on fire. For example a two-storey house.
  • Explain if anyone is trapped and what room they’re in.
  • The more information you can give the fire and rescue service, the more quickly and effectively they can help you.
  • Don’t worry if you forget to tell the emergency operator any of the above as they will prompt you for the information they require.
  • Listen to the any advice the emergency services operator may be able to give you.

Remember - Get out. Stay out. Call 999