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Fire prevention and safety

Find out what to do if a fire breaks out and how to reduce the risk of fires.

What to do during a fire

  • If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Never use a lift and do not return to a burning building.
  • If you are trapped in smoke, stay close to the floor where the air is cleaner. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth if possible.
  • If a door feels hot, do not open it. There is probably a fire on the other side.
  • Lay towels, clothes or other items along the bottoms of doors to stop smoke coming in.
  • Remember – never re-enter your home until the fire service has made it safe.

After a fire

There is a lot to think about after a fire.

You may need to arrange temporary accommodation.Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, as well as your gas, electricity and water suppliers. You can also get advice from your Local Council.

The British Red Cross can provide practical advice and comfort to the survivors of a house fire. Our trained volunteers can also help find temporary shelter and provide advice. Find out more about our fire and emergency support service.

How to stay safe and prevent fires

Read the government’s “Fire kills: you can prevent it” campaign. This provides essential advice about preventing fire and staying safe when fire does break out.

You can get further fire safety advice from your local fire station.

Smoke alarms

You need to fit at least one smoke alarm on every floor.

Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. You are four times more likely to die in a fire if you do not have a smoke alarm that works.

Plan an escape route

Plan an escape route and make sure it is always clear from obstructions. Make sure everyone in your home knows about it. Keep your keys for doors and windows somewhere they can be found quickly.

Stay safe at home

Take extra care in the kitchen – around half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents.

Do not overload electrical sockets or leave the TV and other electrical appliances on standby. This can cause fire. Getting the “before bed routine” right could save your life.

Take care with candles – they cause two fires a day.

Advice for smokers

Every six days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette.

If you smoke, make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and disposed of carefully.

Do not smoke in bed.

If you do smoke you can purchase fire retardant blankets and bedding as a precaution, but these will not stop a fire.

The source for the statistics on this page is Fire Safety in the Home (PDF) by the UK government.