What to do if there is a fire
If there's a fire, you need to act quickly.
Make sure you are prepared and that everyone in your house knows exactly what to do.
- Make sure everyone in the house knows about the fire - shout and get everyone together.
Get everyone out
- You should have an escape route planned that everyone in your house is familiar with.
As you escape, remember:
- don't delay to save valuables or look for pets
- don't investigate the fire
- crawl on the floor if there's smoke - the air is cleaner near the floor
- on the floor, put your nose as low as possible - remember, smoke is toxic and can kill you
- as you go out, only open the doors you need to and close any open doors you can to slow the spread of the fire
- feel doors with the back of your hand before you open them, if they're warm, don't open them - the fire is on the other side
- if you're escaping with others, stay together if you can
If your clothes catch fire
- don't run around - you will fan the flames and make them burn faster
- lying down 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 you are trapped by fire
The common time for families to be caught in a fire situation is during the night. A good night time routine may help keep any escape route clear and a smoke alarm will give you an early warning of fire. However, if you are trapped by fire consider the following advice.
- Get everyone into one room and close the door
- Smoke and fumes can kill people quickly, so put bedding or towels along the bottom of the door to seal the gap
- Open the window and stay near it for fresh air and let the Firefighters see you
- Shout for help so neighbours can offer you assistance and call for the Fire Brigade
- If you are on a ground or first floor, you may be able to escape from a window
- If you have to break the window, cover the jagged glass with towels or thick bedding
- Throw some more bedding out of the window to break your fall
- Don't jump out of the window - lower yourself down to arm's length and drop to the ground
- If you have any children or elderly or disabled people with you, plan the order you will escape in so that you can help them down
- Don't stop or go back in for any reason
What to do if you live in a high-rise flat
- If a fire starts in your flat or the stairwell and you can't get out:
- 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, bedding or clothes, close any ventilators and phone 999
- if your front door becomes hot, wet it down
Once you're out and safe, try and find a phone to call the emergency services - 999 calls are free.
When you speak to the operator:
- give your whole address, including the town
- tell them what is on fire, eg 'a two-storey house'
- explain if anyone is trapped and what room they're in - give as much information as you can so they can help you
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.
- You can 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 firefighters' efforts to rescue anyone else missing - and put your own life in danger.