High rise safety

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Please note: This safety advice is offered as guidance only. If in doubt, Get out, Stay out and get the Fire and Rescue Service out!

Living above the first floor does not make you any less at risk from fire.

The building in which you live has been designed with safety in mind. Outside the building, roads and other areas are designed so that emergency vehicles can get as near as possible. The walls, doors and floors are specially designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke. To do this, these doors need to be kept closed when they are not in use.


Plan ahead - prevent fires

  • Plan ahead now by making a fire action plan. Talk through your 'escape plan' with everyone who lives in your home. Always include children, the elderly and disabled people.
  • Look after your smoke alarms - test them regularly and replace batteries promptly. Make sure they are positioned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Make sure everyone knows where to find door and window keys. Vital time needed to escape may be lost if you do not keep keys close to the door.
  • Keep your escape routes clear
  • Make sure everyone knows where the stairs are. It is easy to get confused in the dark, so count how may doors you need to go through.
  • Do not use the lift
  • Close your internal doors when you got to bed at night
  • Dispose of cigarette ends carefully
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the sight and reach of children
  • Keep your escapes routes clear of obstacles at all times - inside and outside of your flat
  • Maintain electrical goods and use correctly
  • Never leaving cooking unattended
  • Never prop or wedge doors open
  • Turn off all electrical items not designed to stay on for long periods.

If a fire does break out in your flat

When the smoke alarm sounds:

  • Do not open doors looking for the source of the fire
  • Alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing the door behind you
  • Do not stop to gather personal belongings or pets
  • Do not use a balcony to escape from unless it is a part of an official escape route
  • When you are out of the building find a phone and call 999
  • Keep calm and speak clearly
  • Never go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building

  • It will normally be safe for you to stay in your own flat. Open a window if you need fresh air, stay by the window where you may been seen. But if your own flat becomes affected by smoke leave at once closing windows and doors behind you.
  • If you have to leave the building always use the staircase and never use the lift.
  • If you have to move through smoke keep as close to the floor as you can, where the air is fresher.

If escape routes are blocked

If the fire is in your flat

  • Get everyone into a room with a window that opens
  • Put cushions and bedding round the bottom of the door to block smoke
  • Open the window to attract help!

If you are on the ground or first floor

  • Escape out of a window
  • Use bedding to cushion your fall and lower yourself slowly – don’t jump!
  • If you need to break a window, use a heavy object to break the glass in the bottom corner
  • Then knock out the glass
  • Be careful of jagged edges – make them safe with a towel or blanket.

If the fire is outside your flat

  • Seal your front door from smoke with tape or bedding and close any ventilators
  • Phone 999, giving the number of your flat
  • If your front door becomes hot, wet it down

Useful links

Further information

Community Fire Safety

Telephone: 01743 260 200