If your smoke alarm went off in the night would you know
what to do? This page explains how to make a fire action plan for your home. Read
it now - it could save lives.
Plan together now
Safety steps to save lives
What to do if there's a fire
Plan together now
1. Take everyone into account
Make your fire action plan with everyone in your household, especially children and elderly or disabled people.
2. Your best escape route is your normal way in and out of your home
Decide on a different route as well, in case the normal one is blocked.
Keep all escape routes clear.
3. Tell everyone in your household where you keep your door and window keys
You can be safe as well as secure if you make sure that anyone who needs to get out in an emergency can easily open doors and windows.
4. When it's safer to stay in your home
If your escape route is blocked, it may be safer to stay put and protect yourself until the Fire Brigade arrives.
Find a suitable room now. Choose one with a window that opens and, if possible, a phone so that you can call 999.
If the stairs in a block of flats are blocked by fire or smoke, don't use the lift. Stay calm and go back inside your flat - it's designed to keep fire out.
Close the door and follow the safety steps in this leaflet.
If you would like free advice on making your fire action plan, contact your local Fire Brigade. The number is in your local phone book.
When you make your fire action plan:
always include children and elderly and disabled people; choose the best escape route and another way out, and keep them clear; tell everyone where the door and window keys are; and if you can't escape, it's safer to stay in your home, protect yourself, and wait to be rescued.
1. Fit smoke alarms on each floor level in your home
If you don't have working smoke alarms in your home, your chances of surviving a fire when you are asleep are almost zero.
Test your smoke alarms every month and replace batteries once a year.
If your smoke alarms keep going
off, don't disconnect them. They are only doing their job. Ask the Fire Brigade
about the best place to put them so that they won't keep going off, for example,
when you are cooking.
2. Keep doors closed at night
This will help delay the spread of fire
3. Do a safety check before you go to bed each night
The more electrical appliances you can switch off at the wall socket, the safer you will be.
Check gas appliances and put a spark guard in front of open fires.
Put out cigarette ends and candles properly. Always keep matches and cigarette
lighters away from children.
4. Practise your fire action plan
Knowing what to do and acting quickly will save lives. Regularly take a few minutes to 'walk' the escape route with everyone in your household and check that everyone can unlock and open doors and windows easily.
Review your plan regularly, especially if you make
any changes in your home.
Protect yourself and reduce the risk of fire by:
fitting smoke alarms on each floor level and testing
them each month; keeping doors closed at night; switching off as many electrical
appliances as possible at night; and putting out cigarettes and candles safely,
and keeping matches and lighters away from children.
What to do if there's a fire
1. Raise the alarm
If your smoke alarm goes off while you are asleep, don't investigate to see if there is a fire. Shout to wake everyone up, get everyone together, follow your plan and get out.
Check 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 the floor where the air will be cleaner.
2. Escaping from a window
If you are on the ground floor 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.
3. Don't go back inside your home
Call the Fire Brigade from a mobile phone, a neighbour's house or a phone box. Give the address of the fire.
Don't stop or go back for anything.
4. What to do if your escape route is blocked
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 to let the firefighters see you.
Phone the Fire Brigade or shout for help so that someone else can phone for you.
To save your life in a fire:
if your smoke alarm goes off in the night don't investigate - wake others and get out, following your plan; don't open any doors that feel warm; don't stop or go back for anything - phone the Fire Brigade; and if you can't get out, stay together in one room, close the door and wait to be rescued.
If you would like a copy of this leaflet on audio cassette or in Braille, large print or any of the languages listed below, please phone 0800 169 1697. Textphone users should call through Typetalk.
This leaflet is available in the following languages:
Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Turkish, Somali, Welsh.
For more information or advice on fire safety in your home, phone your local Fire Brigade. You can find the number in your local phone book.
To read documents in pdf format, you will need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat reader
version of leaflet (file size 378 Kb)
PDF Welsh version of leaflet (file size 374 Kb)
Community Fire Safety Campaign front page
Home Office front page
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© Disability UK - Richmond - UK Established 1997.