Fire safety in high rise buildings

High Rise Flats
High Rise Flats

Living in a high-rise block does not mean you are more at risk from fire, but it does mean you need to consider your fire safety. It is important to understand what to do in the event of fire, whether it is in your flat or another part of the building.

Most high-rise flats are built to delay the spread of fire for up to an hour.


Do you know your building's escape plan?

It is your landlord or housing provider's responsibility to develop an emergency evacuation plan for residents and ensure you know what to do in the event of a fire.

Your evacuation plan will differ depending on the design of your building. It will be either:

Full evacuation

When the alarm sounds, get everyone in your flat out of the building using emergency fire exit routes and stairs. DO NOT USE THE LIFT.

Delayed evacuation

‘Stay put’ unless the fire is in your flat or your direct neighbours, keep your front door and windows closed.  Await further instructions from the emergency services. If at any stage you feel threatened or at risk, make your way out of the building.

If you don’t know the escape plan for your premises in the event of a fire, please contact your landlord or housing provider.



  • Keep all exits clear, both communal corridors and in your home

  • Keep door and window keys accessible

  • Get to know your neighbours.  Are they young, elderly or vulnerable? They may need assistance in an emergency.  Make sure you know the plan and where the fire escapes and exits are in your building

  • If you are unable to follow the escape plan by yourself (for example, because of mobility problems or health issues), please contact us to arrange a free Home Safety Check.



  • Make sure everyone in your home knows about the fire and alert neighbouring flats by banging on the doors on your way out. Set off the fire alarm if there is one
  • If there's a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air will be cleaner
  • Get everyone out and don't delay for valuables
  • Don't investigate the fire
  • Before you open each door, check it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, don't open it - the fire is on the other side
  • Do not use the lift. Go down the stairs
  • Once you’re out of the building, call 999. Never assume that someone else has reported the fire



If something doesn’t look right or feel right… report it!

  • Lookout for combustible materials or household items that are not disposed of correctly in and around their flat/communal areas. Report it to the landlord/housing provider, or remove it
  • If you see a dry riser vandalised or damaged, report it immediately to the manager of your building
  • If you live in rented accommodation, it is your building manager / housing provider’s responsibility to conduct a fire risk assessment and put appropriate safety measures in place.



If you are concerned about fire safety in your home, you should raise your concerns with your building manager or housing provider.

If you still have concerns, please contact your local Fire Safety office:

  • If you live in the Newcastle or North Tyneside area - 0191 444 1002 / 1004
  • If you live in Sunderland, South Tyneside or Gateshead- 0191 444 1249 / 1264


If you would like a free Home Safety Check, including fire safety advice and smoke detection, please contact one of our local Prevention and Education teams:

  • Newcastle and North Tyneside - 0191 444 1108 / 1140 / 1760
  • Gateshead and South Tyneside - 0191 444 1400 / 1827
  • Sunderland - 0191 444 1174 / 1300


In an emergency, always call 999