You are here: Home > In an emergency > Escaping from fire >

Escaping from a fire in your home

If your smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night would you know what to do?

Every year 60,000 fires occur in homes across the UK - many of the deaths and injuries that happen could be prevented. Fire is something nobody likes to think about, but it can happen to anyone.

Plan and practice

  • Think ahead, make a fire action plan so that you and everyone in your home knows what to do in the event of a fire. Take everyone into account when making your plan - it is important to think about any children, or older or disabled people who may need extra help to get out.
  • Your best escape route is your normal way in and out of your home, but decide on a different route too, in case it is blocked. Keep all routes clear of anything that may hinder your escape.
  • Get everyone involved in making your fire action plan. The more they know about the plan the better they will understand what to do if there is a fire. Visitors also need to know about your fire plan.
  • Make sure you fit smoke alarms on each floor of your property, and test them once a week.

Following your fire action plan

  • If your fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night, do not  investigate to see if there is a fire, shout to wake everyone up, follow your fire action plan and get out.
  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand - if they are warm do not open them - the fire is on the other side. If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along with your nose near to the floor where the air will be fresher.
  • There is no such thing as a safe fire. It is better for you to prevent fire than to fight it. Tackling fire is a job best left to the professional firefighters. You should only tackle a fire if it is in its early stages and you are completely sure you can put it out and stay safe.
  • Make sure everyone knows where door and window keys are kept. You can be safe as well as secure if you make sure that locked doors and windows can be opened easily from the inside. Make sure too that keys are easily available, however police advice is that keys should not be reachable from the outside through a window or door.
  • If you are on the ground or first floor you may be able to escape from a window. If you have to break the window, cover any jagged glass with towels or thick bedding and throw some more bedding out of the window to break your fall. Do not jump out of the window - lower yourself to arms length and drop to the ground.
  • Do not stop to collect personal belongings or pets - you can easily be overcome by smoke, seriously injured or killed
  • Phone the fire service immediately by dialing 999 on a mobile phone, a neighbour's telephone or from a phone box.
  • Never go back inside a building that is on fire.

If you cannot safely escape from the building

  • If your escape route is blocked, it may be safer to stay put. Get everyone into one room and close the door. Put bedding or towels along the bottom of the door to seal the gap - smoke and fumes can kill people quickly so it is important to stop them getting into the room.
  • If you live higher than the first floor in your building, or find your escape route is blocked, it is safer to protect yourself, stay put and wait for the fire service to rescue you. Open the window and stay near it for fresh air and to let the firefighters see you.
  • Phone the fire service immediately by dialing 999 on a mobile phone, a neighbour's telephone or from a phone box.

Site tools


Add This


Objective: We are committed to reducing road accidents, deaths and injuries