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Escape plans

Fitting a smoke alarm is the first crucial step to protecting yourself from fire. But what would you do if it went off during the night? This section will help you make a plan ready for an emergency which could help save the lives of you, your family and your visitors.

Make an escape plan

Every household should have some sort of escape plan in place just in case the worst was to happen. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but it is important to prepare for it so there is no delay when it is put into action.

Plan together

Plan together as a family, ensuring that all the children in the household know the plan and what to do in the unlikely event of a fire occurring. Special arrangements need to be made in consideration of any elderly people.

The escape route

Ensure that the escape route is practical and can be carried out. Regularly talk about the escape plan so it is fresh in your minds. It is also advisable to have a room in which you could all remain during a worst case scenario. It would be suggested that this room also has a telephone so you can summon help. Make sure all the children know your address in case they have to telephone the emergency services.

Parents, guardians and responsible adults should be aware that children may not wake to the sound of a working smoke alarm, therefore your escape plan MUST account for waking and evacuating children. 

Shout for help

It's important to let firefighters know you are there, and if you haven't managed to call 999 you need to raise the alarm. Lean out of the window to breathe if you need to. Keep drawing attention to yourself. If the window is locked try breaking it with a heavy object. Strike the window in the corner hard to break the glass.


Only escape from a window if you are in immediate danger from the fire. When in the room it is advisable to put bedding or clothes at the bottom of the door to stop the smoke coming in before you all have escaped. If there are two adults, then one should drop first to enable the children to be lowered before being dropped, don't jump. If you are escaping from an upper bedroom throw out the mattress or bedding to help cushion the landing.

Please Note

Whilst in the perfect world, it would be ideal to leave your house keys in your door locks for an easy escape, we do find ourselves in a society where this is not practicable due to theft etc. If you are worried about the security of your home, it is advised that your keys should be left in a safe and suitable place, and that all members of the family, including visitors, are fully aware of this, should the worse happen.

Don't tackle fires yourself. Leave it to the professionals.

Escaping from a high level building

Do you live in a flat/apartment in a property of three or more stories?

If so, then your landlord/housing provider is responsible for the fire evacuation plan for your building.   As a resident, if this information has not been provided to you, then you must contact your landlord immediately and request that this be provided.

If you have any concerns regarding fire safety for your accommodation, raise these directly with your landlord, or housing provider, who will be able to answer any questions that you may have.

Escape plan

As well as a fire evacuation plan, it is still essential to have an Escape Plan in place for inside your flat/apartment.

  • Firstly, make an escape plan so that you, your family and any visitors are fully prepared if there is a fire.  Ensure that yourself and everyone else who lives in your flat has practised the escape plan, this will give you the best possible chance of escaping a fire.
  • Ensure all escape routes and doors are clear and unobstructed.
  • It is advised that all door and window keys should be left in a safe and suitable place and that everyone is fully aware of this.
  • It is advised that mobile phones should be easily accessible in case of an emergency. This will give you chance to call 999 and summon help.
  • It is encouraged that you should have a room that occupants can remain in in an emergency situation.
  • It is also suggested that a telephone should be situated within this room, giving you the chance to call 999 and summon help.

Fire Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility

As a tenant/resident of a multi-level building, you have an important role to play in ensuring fire safety is maintained on a day-to-day basis.  You can help to ensure your building is ‘a safe place to live’ by following some simple fire safety tips:

  • Always follow advice and guidance provided by your landlord or housing provider.
  • Make sure you are aware of the fire evacuation plan and follow this if a fire occurs.
  • Never wedge open or disable fire doors.
  • Never block escape routes – keep escape route clear of any clutter/rubbish
  • Keep combustible materials away from escape routes and common areas.

Remember, in the event of a fire call 999.