Cheshire Fire and Rescue highlight importance of planning in the event of a fire
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of planning how you would get out of your home in the event of a fire.
Held throughout May, National Fire Chiefs Council’s Escape Routes campaign highlights the fact that your chances of escaping a fire improve significantly if you have an effective plan of action.
Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at CFRS, said: “Planning what to do in the event of a fire is not just something that should be done at schools and workplaces, it should be done at all homes too.
“Drawing up an escape plan so that everyone in your home knows what to do if a smoke alarm goes off during the night can be the difference between life and death.
“Yet an English Housing Survey commissioned by the Government has shown that only five per cent of households have planned an escape route.
“We fully support the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Escape Routes campaign for May and hope that as many people as possible start planning what they would do if a fire started in their home.”
The best way out of your home in the event of a fire is normally the one that you would always use, but in case that is blocked have a back-up route planned.
Once you have planned the best routes make sure that you always keep the exits clear and your door and window keys where everyone in your home can find them.
It is also extremely important for everyone to walk through and familiarise themselves with the escape routes and to know where to gather once they are out of the property.
Your escape plans should be practised as a family.
Nick added: “If children or adults with mobility problems live in your home, when devising your escape plan think of any difficulties they may have or help they may need getting out. Can they get downstairs on their own? Where is the best place for them to go if they can’t get downstairs? Would they benefit from a torch to light their way or a stair rail?
“Hopefully you will never have to use your escape plan, but if you are ever woke up by a smoke alarm sounding or by the sounds of what you think is a fire make sure that you follow our motto of get out, stay out and get the fire and rescue service out by calling 999.”
In the event of a fire in your home:
- Wake all the members of your family and make your way out together through the nearest exit
- Do not waste time investigating or grabbing personal items
- Once you are outside the property get to a safe place and dial 999 to report the fire
- Stay outside of your home until firefighters tell you that it is safe to return.
If you cannot use the pre-planned routes because they are blocked by fire:
- Move everyone into one room with a window and a phone inside it and close the door
- Call the fire and rescue service on 999
- Use bedding, tea towels, cushions, curtains or other fabrics to block smoke from coming under the door.
If you live in a high rise building:
- Make sure that you know its escape plan and where all the fire exits and alarms are
- Your landlord has a legal duty to give you a copy of the escape plan for your building, so ask for a copy if you do not already have one
- Keep exits clear both in your home and in communal areas
- All front doors to flats and doors on corridors and staircases in high rise buildings must be self-closing fire doors, so never wedge them open
- Count how many doors you need to go through to get out of the building, as during a fire smoke can cause confusion
- If your escape route is blocked by fire you should stay in your room if your building’s escape plan stipulates that is the correct course of action – many high rise buildings are designed for people to stay in their flats in the event of a fire and for them not to try to escape.