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We should all know what can cause a fire in the home.  But you will be surprised how many things we overlook.  Here we give you a list of what you and your family/friends should do in your home to keep yourselves safe.

Source:  Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

How to prevent a fire

Make sure you and your family/friends:

  • Have a fire action plan
  • Have smoke alarms on each level in your home and that they are tested on a regular basis
  • Keep the exits from your home clear
  • Take extra care in the kitchen
  • Never leave lit candles unattended
  • Check that cigarettes are stubbed out properly and are disposed of carefully, and never smoke in bed
  • Close the doors at night
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets
  • Keep matches and lighters where children can’t see or reach them
  • Switch  the TV or other electrical equipment (e.g. hair straighteners, hairdryers etc) off and unplug when it’s not in use.

What to do if there’s a fire

Source: Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service

Acting quickly can save your life. If there is a fire, you need to make sure you and everyone in your house knows what to do. Get out, stay out, call 999.

Raise the alarm. Let everyone in the house know about the fire, shout and get everyone together.

Get everyone out. You should have your escape route planned and everyone in your house should be familiar with it. If you don’t already have one, see our pages on ‘plan your escape’. As you escape remember:

  • Don’t delay to save valuables or look for pets
  • Don’t investigate the fire
  • Crawl along the floor, smoke will rise and the cleanest air is near the floor. Smoke is poisonous and can kill you
  • As you go out, only open the doors you need to and close any that may spread the fire
  • Before you open any doors, feel them with the back of your hand, if they are warm, don’t open them. The fire is likely to be on the other side
  • If you’re escaping together, stay together if you can.

Escape route blocked?

  • If you are on the ground floor, go out of a window. Throw bedding or cushions to break your fall
  • If you can’t open the window, use a heavy object to break it at the bottom corner, if you can, cover any edges with clothing, a towel or blanket
  • Lower children as far as possible before letting them drop. Get an adult to break their fall if you can
  • Lower yourself by your arms from the window ledge before dropping.

If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room, ideally with a window:

  • Put cushions, towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block smoke
  • Open the window and call for help
  • Think now, which room might be best for this? You need a window that can be opened easily and if possible has a phone for calling 999.

If your clothes catch fire

  • Don’t run around, you will fan the flames making them burn faster
  • Lie down. This makes it harder for the fire to spread and reduces the effect of flames on your face and head
  • Smother the flames by covering them with a heavy material like a coat or blanket
  • Roll around. Rolling smothers the flames
  • Remember ‘stop, drop and roll’.

Don’t go back into the building. Find somewhere safe to wait. If there is someone still inside, wait for the fire and rescue service to arrive. You can tell them about the person and they will be able to find them quicker than you. If you go back into the building, you will slow down the firefighter’s effort to rescue anyone else missing, as well as putting your own life in danger.