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Safety in High Rise Buildings

High-rise buildings are designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and provide a safe means of escape for occupants. The walls, doors and floors are specially designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke and most fires that occur are contained within the room of origin. Outside the building, roads and other areas are designed so that emergency vehicles can get as near as possible.

Never prop or wedge doors open.

It is also a good idea to close your internal doors too when you retire for the night and turn off all electrical items not designed to stay on for long periods. Keep your escapes routes, inside and outside of your flat, clear of obstacles at all times.

Vital time needed to escape may be lost if you do not keep keys close to the door.

If a fire does break out in your flat:

  • Don't open doors looking for the source of the fire.
  • Alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing the door behind you.
  • Don't stop to gather personal belongings or pets.
  • If you're trapped, go to the balcony but don't think about jumping. Wait for the fire and rescue service.
  • When you are out of the building find a phone and call 999 - Keep calm and speak clearly.
  • Never go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so.

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building:

  • If there's a fire in another flat in the building, you're usually safest in your own home, unless you're affected by the heat or smoke.
  • In the event of a fire, never assume that someone else has called 999.
  • Open a window if you need fresh air, and stay by the window where you may be seen. But if your own flat becomes affected by smoke leave at once closing windows and doors behind you.
  • If you have to leave the building always use the staircase and never use the lift.
  • If you have to move through smoke keep as close to the floor as you can, where the air is fresher.
  • If it is too dangerous to follow your escape route because the stairs and hallways are filled with smoke, ring 999 and stay inside the safest room. Keep the door closed and use towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block the smoke.

Prevent fires:

  • Never leaving cooking unattended
  • Maintain electrical goods and use correctly
  • Dispose of cigarette ends carefully
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Make an escape plan so that you and your family are fully prepared if there's a fire in your flat.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them at least once a month.
  • Make sure exits are kept clear of obstructions and doors to stairways are not damaged or faulty.
  • Never tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on landings. These provide water to firefighters when there is an emergency. It could cost lives if they are not working properly when there is a fire.
  • If you see a dry riser vandalised or damaged, report it immediately to the manager of the building.
  • Never park so you block access to high-rise flats. Access roads are designed so that fire engines can get as close as possible to fight fires.
  • Please don't start cooking if you are very tired or have consumed a lot of alcohol.
  • If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarettes out properly, and don't smoke in bed.

Plan ahead now by making a fire action plan taking into account everyone living in your flat. Look after your smoke alarms - test them regularly and replace batteries promptly. Make sure they are positioned and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.


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