Home fire safety

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Safety is taking small precautions every day.

A fire in a residential building will become life-threatening within 2-3 minutes. Inhalation of the hot fire gases generated by burning items such as furniture, textiles and household appliances will lead to unconsciousness and death within minutes.

What to do in the event of a fire

In the event of discovering a fire in the home it is important to get out the building as quickly and as safely as possible.

Firstly if the fire is small and can be exstinguished safely and it is possible to use a portable fire exstinguisher or a fire blanket then do so. Making sure you do not expose yourself to risk. Once you have delt with the fire call 112 and report the incident.

On discovering a large fire or a fire which is out of control, do not put yourself at risk. Close the doors to the room or rooms involved and leave the building as quickly as possible, making sure your family or friends are with you. Call 112 to report the incident from a place of safety. Stating your address cleary with the emergency services. Do not hang up your phone until told to do so. Do not return to the property to self rescue pets. Get out, stay out, call the fire service out.  

If you become trapped by fire

Try to remain calm.

If you are unable to use the door because of flames or smoke, close the door and use towels or sheets to block any gaps. This will help stop smoke spreading into the room. Try to make your way to the window.

If the room becomes smoky, crawl along the floor where it's easier to breathe because smoke rises. Open the window, this will allow smoke to escape and provide you with fresh air. Try to attract the attention of others who can alert the fire brigade.

The fire brigade should arrive in a matter of minutes. We do not recommend that you jump out of an upstairs window however, if you are in immediate danger and your room is not too high from the ground, drop cushions or bedding to the ground below to break your fall from the window. Do not try to use a mattress, this could block the window; or tie bedsheets together as you will be unlikely to find a strong enough anchor to tie them to - and do you know what the correct knot would be? If you can, get out feet first and lower yourself to the full length of your arms before dropping.

Planning Your Escape Route

Make sure that your planned escape route remains free of any obstructions and that there are no loose floor coverings that could trip you. Everyone in the house should be made aware of the escape route, even visiting guests.

If you have serious mobility difficulties you may wish to consider having your bedroom on the ground floor, if this is practical, and as near as possible to the exit. If you would need assistance to make your escape, it is vital that you have some means of summoning help by your bed, i.e. a telephone.


Make sure that everyone in the house knows the safest and quickest way out of the building if a fire breaks out. Check out that you have at least one smoke detector on each floor and fire-extinguishing equipment, e.g. a fire blanket or an extinguisher. If you have to leave a smoke filled area staying low to the floor will give you clearer vision and fresher air.

Never escape into a smoke-filled space!

In case of emergency

  • Call 112.
  • Explain what has happened.
  • Give the exact address and the name of the town.
  • Answer the questions and follow the instructions given.
  • Stay on the line until you have been given permission to end the call.
  • Direct the emergency services to the scene.
  • Do not return to the property.
  • Calls to 112 are free of charge.

Published 2012-02-11 17:38 , updated 2015-01-23 15:47

  • Safety instructions, 
  • Public safety