Kent Fire & Rescue Service

High-rise accommodation

Image of high-rise homes

It is important to remember that fires in high-rise buildings are rare and that most fires do not spread further than one or two rooms. High rise buildings are designed to contain and prevent a fire from spreading.

Make sure you know the fire safety procedures and evacuation plans for their specific property, as the layout and safety plans may differ, depending on a range of factors, including the design of the building.

Contact the building manager or responsible person for your building for further information and advice.

Follow these tips if a fire breaks out in your flat (your smoke alarm should alert you):


  • DO alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing doors behind you
  • DO use the stairs to exit – never be tempted to use the lift
  • DO find a phone and call 999 when you are out of the building


  • DON’T open doors looking for the source of the fire
  • DON’T stop to gather personal belongings
  • DON’T use a balcony to escape unless it is part of the official escape route
  • DON’T go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building:

  • The best way to keep safe is to follow the evacuation plan for your building

  • If your flat becomes affected by smoke, leave at once, closing windows and doors behind you 

  • If you have to leave the building, use the staircase and never the lift

  • If you have to move through smoke, keep as low as possible where the air is cleaner

Further advice

If you do not have a smoke alarm in your flat, please call our home safety advice team on 0800 923 7000 or email your preferred contact details to

Advice and information for leaseholders in high-rise properties

If you are a leaseholder, the government provides extra advice and information free of charge.

Things you can do

Everyone you live with must know what to do if a fire breaks out, so you can all escape as quickly and safely as possible.

Plan your escape route together, so everyone knows what to do.

Make sure passages and stairways are always clear of things like rubbish bags, prams, bikes, mobility scooters or furniture. Fire smoke makes it difficult to see ahead, so these big objects could stop people escaping.

Electrical goods

  • Electrical items can start fires if they’re faulty or used incorrectly.
  • Make sure USB chargers for e-cigarettes, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Watch out for warning signs like flickering lights, hot plugs or worn cables.


  • Don’t leave lit cigarettes unattended and make sure they’re stubbed out. 
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep matches out of the reach of children.


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never fill a chip pan more than a third full of fat or oil.

Portable heating

  • Never use heaters to dry clothes – and make sure they stand on a stable surface.

Safe storage

  • Always store motorcycles or petrol cans in a safe store or garage.

Before you go to bed

  • Unplug all portable heaters.
  • Make sure all cigarettes are put out. Leave ashtrays outside if you’re unsure. 
  • Close the doors to all rooms. This should slow the spread of fire and smoke if a fire does break out.
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