Published on 10th July 2017

In the event of a fire: Evacuation advice

Always evacuate the building if your flat is affected by smoke or heat, or if you are told to do so by the fire service. If there is a fire elsewhere in the block, your flat should be in a building that’s designed to resist fire, meaning you need not leave your home. That said, if in doubt, get out.

You should use the stairway to reach ground level, wherever possible. If you’re in a corridor, lift lobby or stairway and notice a fire, leave the building immediately. Where it’s safe to do so, alert other residents in the immediate vicinity on your way out by knocking on their doors. Never put yourself at risk and do not return to your flat until the authorities tell you it’s safe to do so.

Need to open a fire door or any closed door?

This should always be a last resort; the official advice remains to stay where you are if possible so you can be found more easily. If you do need to open a closed door during a fire, never grab the handle. Touch it with the back of your hand first to test how hot it is. Get into a crouching position and use the door as a shield to protect yourself as you open it. Take as quick a look as possible to assess the situation. Is it safe to move?

When unable to evacuate

Make sure that all doors are closed. Try to seal any gaps in the door, especially between the bottom of the door and the carpet; this will slow down the speed that smoke enters the room, giving you more time. Smoke is deadlier than the fire itself. Where possible, keep all windows closed too, as smoke could rise from a fire below. If you need to open a window to shout for help, do so, or use your mobile phone to call the emergency services. If the room starts filling with smoke, get as low as possible to the ground. Smoke will go up to the highest point first.

Read our new Fire Safety Factsheet

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