Surviving a House Fire: Emergency Guide
Being prepared plays a crucial role in preventing and surviving a house fire, as well as conserving your belongings. As an integral part of our safety campaign, our emergency guide equips you with tips and advice on what to do before, during and after a house fire.
BEFORE a house fire:
- Install and test smoke alarms. Some insurance policies will be invalidated if the batteries are found to be flat.
- Create a fire evacuation and escape plan for family and visitors. Make sure all individuals are aware of this plan- fire drills can be especially helpful for young children.
- Fire safety and equipment training can also be useful for young children. Ensure they are aware of emergency numbers to call and their address.
- Be cautious with electrical goods, especially those that generate heat.
- Don’t leave open flames or cigarettes unattended.
- Fire stop equipment, such as fire extinguishers and fire doors, can prevent a house fire from spreading. Ensure any equipment is serviced, in date and easily accessible.
- Document high value belongings and retain receipts or photos for evidence.
- For important belongings and documents, you can purchase a fireproof safe.
- Keeping inside doors closed at night can also be crucial in stopping a fire.
- Always keep exits clear, and store house keys in a place that is easily accessed.
- Consider taking out fire insurance and ensure the cover is comprehensive. Always read the terms and conditions in full, as some circumstances may invalidate your claim.
For more tips on making an insurance claim, read our blog How To Reduce Stress In The Event Of A Fire Or Flood.
DURING a house fire:
- Don’t risk your personal safety during a house fire, do not attempt to retrieve people, pets or belongings.
- Smother fire with heavy material, blanket or coat.
- Shout fire as loud as you can to alert others in the building. If you are unable to exit shout ‘HELP FIRE’ as loud as you can.
- Call 999 or your national emergency fire department if you are not from the UK.
- Close doors to stop the house fire from spreading.
- If there is smoke, you can cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth to prevent inhalation. Smoke rises, therefor crawling and staying close to the ground will limit the amount inhaled.
- If trapped, you can cover cracks surrounding bedroom doors with wet towels. If no water is available, heavy rugs, bedding and fabric can also be used to block this.
- If you are able to exit near a window, do so safely by climbing out backwards. Bedding can be used to cushion the fall.
- Open any external windows if you are trapped. Windows can also be broken at the weaker points in the corner.
Cover broken glass with heavy fabric to avoid contact whilst exiting.
- If you or someone else catches fire: Do not run around. Stop, drop and roll until the flames are extinguished.
- Ensure the safety and health of your family and any visitors. Do a head count, and identify if anyone has been injured.
If anyone is missing, immediately report them to the responding fire brigade. Severe injuries should be assessed and treated by qualified professionals.
AFTER a house fire:
- Have yourself and your family checked by a paramedic or doctor. Even if you did not attain any burns, your lungs may have been compromised from smoke inhalation.
Once physical health has been evaluated, ensure your loved ones are coping mentally. Experiencing a fires can be traumatic and often lead to shock so it is essential to check in with everyone.
- First aid: Minor burns can be treated using techniques provided by the NHS.
- Secure your property by closing windows and locking doors. This will deter opportunistic thieves.
- Find alternative accommodation whilst you recover. Insurers may cover costs of alternative accommodation.
There are resources from companies such as Shelter, which explain emergency housing how to acquire priority need homeless help from the government.
You can also make use of kitchen pods, should only a few of your rooms be effected.
- Contact your insurance and utility providers.
- The fire services should inspect your property to ensure the building is structurally sound or of any risk to the public.
You may also need an electrician and surveyor to assess the property further. Request a Copy of the fire report.
- Recover possessions from your property if safe to do so.
- Seek mental health support for anyone effected long term by the trauma a house fire can leave. Mental health charity Mind has great resources, or alternatively you can contact your GP for support.
- Arrange for your home to be restored and safe to live in.
If you are unfortunate enough to have been effected by a house fire, Rainbow Restoration can help. We have been proudly serving the UK for over 35 years, and our fire and smoke damage restoration services are second to none.
We can handle building and contents restoration, all the way to ash, smoke and structural damage. Let our fire damage restoration service work on your building’s health so you can focus on your own.
Should you need us we are available 24/7, 365 days a year on our national helpline: 01623 422488.