Fire Kills – planning an escape

We’re backing national campaign Fire Kills which looks to raise awareness of the fire risks in your home and we’re working with the Fire Service to promote Home Safety visits. Today we’ll look at planning your escape route in case of a fire…

Ok so you’ve looked at some of the potential fire hazards in your home, but what happens if your smoke alarm went off at night? How are you going to get out? Here’s how to help plan your escape route…

  • Make sure all exits are kept clear – if you live in a block of flats it is important to have a clear and empty stairwell as this could be your only route of escape
  • The best route is normally the way in and out of your home
  • Try and plan a second route in case this one is blocked
  • Practice your escape plan and review your plan if the layout of your home changes

If there is a fire:

  • Keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible
  • Don’t waste time investigating what happened or collecting valuables
  • If there’s smoke then keep low where the air is clearer
  • Before you open a door, check if it is warm – if it is then don’t open it as the fire is on the other side
  • Call 999 as soon as you’re clear of the building

What to do if your escape is blocked:

  • Get everyone into one room, ideally with a window and a phone
  • Put bedding around the bottom of the door to block out the smoke
  • Call 999 then open the window and shout for help
  • If you’re on the ground or first floor then you may be able to escape through a window
  • Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully – don’t jump
  • If you can’t open the window try breaking the glass in the bottom corner and make jagged edges safe with a towel or blanket

What to do if your clothes catch fire:

  • Don’t run around, you’ll make the flames worse
  • Lie down and roll around – it makes it harder for the fire to spread
  • Smother the flames with a heavy material, like a coat or blanket
  • Remember – stop, drop and roll

How to escape from a high-level building

  • As with all buildings you should plan and practice an escape route
  • Avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire
  • It is easy to get confused in smoke, so count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs
  • Check there is nothing in the corridors or stairways that could catch fire or block your exits
  • Make sure doors to stairways are not locked
  • Make sure everyone in the building knows where the fire alarms are
  • You should have smoke alarms for your home even if there are alarms in the block

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are offering free Home Safety visits to give you peace of mind and find any fire risks in your home. Find out more and make a request for your home safety visit now.

The Fire Kills campaign also raises awareness of the importance of having smoke alarms on each floor of your home and to check that the batteries are working at least once a month.