Have a fire plan:
- Plan your escape route and practice it with everyone in your home. The best route is the ‘normal’ way in and out of your home.
- Consider alternative escape routes in case your best route is blocked by fire
- Keep your door and window keys in the same place so everyone in the house hold can find then and make a quick escape if needed.
- If anyone in the home is slow to react or has mobility issues, adapt the plan to suit their needs.
- Make sure your exits are keep clear of anything that may slow your escape
- Mobility aids and any methods of calling for help should always be kept close to hand (e.g. mobile phone/link alarm or pendant)
- Review you plan if circumstances change.
If your escape route is blocked:
- If you can’t get out, find a safe room away from fire, ideally one with a window that opens and access to a phone
- Close the door and put bedding or any soft materials (preferably wet) around the bottom of the door to block the smoke, then open the window and shout for help
- If you have a phone with you, call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.
- If you’re on the ground or first floor, you may be able to escape through a window. Use soft materials to cushion your fall and lower yourself down carefully. Don’t jump.
Fire safety in your flat
If there is a fire or smoke inside your flat and your escape route is clear:
- Get everyone out and close the front door
- Evacuate the building by the nearest available exit
- Use the stairs, not the lift, when evacuating a building
- As you evacuate the building, raise the alarm by pressing a fire alarm call point
- Once you have evacuated the building, dial 999 to report the fire, give the address of the building including the number of your flat and the floor on which it is located.
Take a look at the options below for important fire safety information relevant to your home.
Further information about reducing the risk of fire in your home
Fires caused by smoking (including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipe tobacco) result in more deaths each year than any other type of fire.
- It is safer to smoke outside but if you are inside make sure cigarettes are totally extinguished and disposed of properly
- Never smoke in bed
- Don’t smoke in an armchair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep
- Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol
- Use proper ashtrays which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly
- Never balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray or anything else; they can fall and cause a fire
- Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended
- Empty ashtrays carefully – make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin. Never use a wastepaper basket
- Keep matches and lighters out the reach of children and buy child-resistant lighters.
- Wheelie bin fires
Nuisance wheelie bin and rubbish fires are a problem in some neighbourhoods, typically causing damage of up to £1650, including damage to buildings, cleaning up and the cost of replacement.
To keep your wheelie bin safe:
- Don’t put out your bin until it is due for collection
- Don’t overfill your bin or leave loose waste around it
- Don’t store your bin in close proximity to a building
- Make sure the bins and any additional waste don’t block fire escape routes
- Don’t store waste by windows or doors
- Do kindly offer to help your neighbours if they are unable to bring in their wheelie bin after collection.
- Bedtime checks
Many fire deaths happen at night when most people are sleeping. Further reduce the risk of fire by carrying out some simple checks before you go to bed.
- Close your doors, this can help to stop flames and smoke from spreading to other rooms, giving you and your family more time to escape
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on – like your fridge or freezer
- Don’t leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher switched on
- Don’t leave devices such as mobile phones, tablets or e-cigarettes charging overnight
- Check your cooker is turned off
- Turn heaters off, rake out fires and put a fire guard in place
- Put candles, incense sticks and oil burners out and never leave them burning when you are asleep.
- Candle and naked flames
- Make sure you put out any candles, incense and oil burners when you leave the room and especially before bed
- Candles should always be held firmly in heat resistant holders and placed on a stable surface
- Keep candles away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothes
- Tea lights get very hot and without proper holders can melt through plastic surfaces like a TV or bath
- To avoid accidents, keep candles and other naked flames out of reach of children and pets.
Watch this quick video by North Yorkshires Fire & Rescue rescue about candle safety.
More fires and fire injuries are caused by carelessness in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home.
- Avoid leaving cooking unattended
- If you have to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, it’s safer to take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill
- Don’t cook if you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that might make you drowsy
- Loose clothing can easily catch fire – take care not to lean over a hot hob and keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob
- Keep the oven, hob, cooker hood and grill clean, and in good working order
- A build-up of fat and grease can ignite and cause a fire
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers
- Double check the cooker and hob are turned off when you’ve finished cooking
- Check toasters are clean and not placed under kitchen cabinets or close to anything that can catch fire.
- If a pan catches fire
- Don’t tackle the fire yourself and don’t attempt to move the pan
- Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so
- Never throw water over a fire as it could create a fireball
- Leave the room, close the door, shout a warning to others and call the fire brigade by dialling 999.
- Deep fat frying
- Take extra care when cooking with hot oil as it can easily overheat and catch fire
- Never fill a pan more than one third full of fat or oil
- Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil
- If the oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool
- Use an electronic deep fat fryer if possible as they have automatic temperature controls.
- Outdoor cooking
- Never use a barbecue (including disposable ones) indoors or on a balcony
- Position your barbecue on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire (sheds, fences, trees, tents etc.)
- Never use petrol, paraffin or bio fuel to get the barbecue going or revive it
- Never take a barbecue into a tent, awning, caravan or motor-home. Even when cooling it will give off poisonous carbon monoxide fumes which can kill.