What to do if there's a fire in your home

Acting quickly can save your life. Prepare now so you, and everyone in your home knows what to do.

Note. If you live in a block of flats or a high-rise building then there will be specific advice about what to do in the event of a fire.

 

A home safety technician discussing escape routes in a blue bedroom with a dad and his two children.
Home safety technician discussing escape routes

1. Raise the alarm

Let everyone in the house know about the fire, shout and get everyone together.

2. Get everyone out of the home

You should have your escape route planned and everyone in your house should be familiar with it. If you don’t already have one, look at our page about escape plans.

Do not delay your escape to save valuables or look for pets. Smoke from a fire can knock you unconscious in just two or three breaths.

When you escape:

  • do not attempt to investigate the fire
  • crawl along the floor, smoke will rise and the cleanest air is near the floor. Smoke is poisonous and can kill you
  • as you go out, only open the doors you need to
  • if you can, close doors behind you. This will reduce the spread of the fire
  • before you open any doors, feel them with the back of your hand, if they are warm, don’t open them. The fire is likely to be on the other side
  • if you’re escaping together, stay together if you can.

3. Once you are out, stay out, and call 999 for the fire service

  • Never go back into the building. 
  • Find somewhere safe to wait. 
  • If there is someone still inside, wait for the fire and rescue service to arrive. You can tell them about the person and they will be able to find them quicker than you. 
  • If you go back into the building, you will slow down the firefighters’ efforts to rescue anyone else missing, as well as putting your own life in danger.

If your clothes catch fire

Remember - Stop, drop and roll.

  1. Stop what you’re doing. Don’t run around, you will fan the flames making them burn faster.
  2. Drop to the floor and lie down covering your face with your hands. This makes it harder for the fire to spread and reduces the effect of flames on your face and head.
  3. Roll around. Rolling smothers the flames. You can also smother the flames by covering them with a heavy material like a coat or blanket.
     
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Remember - Get out, stay out, call 999.