Escape from fire

Fire can develop and spread quicker than you can read this. Escaping is a lot easier if you have planned an escape route and everyone knows exactly what to do.

Here are our top 5 tips for getting out safely:

  1. Shout ‘FIRE’ – Make sure everyone knows exactly what is happening.
  2. Get out – Leave the building as quickly and calmly as possible through the nearest safe exit.
  3. Shut the doors – Close doors behind you as you pass through to help prevent the spread of the fire.
  4. Call 999 – Use a mobile or a neighbour’s phone to call us as soon as you can.
  5. Stay out – Don’t go back for anything.

Your best escape route is the normal way in and out of your home, but you should prepare second and third routes in case a fire blocks your first one. Windows should only be used as a last resort.

High rise living

Living in a high rise block does not mean you are more at risk from fire. However, it’s important to understand what to do if a fire starts either in your flat or another part of the building.

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


Escape plan

It’s your landlord or housing provider’s responsibility to provide an emergency evacuation plan for residents and ensure you know what to do in case of fire. Your evacuation plan will depend on the design of your building. It will be either a full evacuation or a delayed evacuation.


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’, keeping 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, contact your landlord or housing provider.

No matter where you live, it is always good to be prepared:

  • Keep all exits clear both in your home and in communal areas.
  • Keep your door and window keys easily accessible.
  • Get to know your neighbours – are they young, elderly or vulnerable? They may need your help in an emergency.
  • Make sure you know the fire escape plan and where the fire escapes and exits are.
  • If something doesn’t look right, report it.
  • If you’re unable to follow the escape plan by yourself because of mobility or health issues, contact us about a Safe and Well check.
  • Keep all communal areas clear. Report any items being kept in communal areas to your landlord or housing provider immediately.
  • If you see damaged or vandalised fire safety equipment, report it immediately to the building manager.

If you live in rented accommodation, it’s your building manager or housing provider’s responsibility to carry out a fire risk assessment and put appropriate safety measures in place.



In an emergency you should always call 999, but if you’re concerned about fire safety in your high rise contact your building manager or housing provider.

You can always contact your local Fire Safety office:

Newcastle and North Tyneside – 0191 444 1002 or 0191 444 1004

Sunderland, South Tyneside or Gateshead – 0191 444 1249 or 0191 444 1264