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.
Following your fire action plan
If your smoke 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.
- Find out about making a fire escape plan.
- 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.