What Should I Do If I Have a House Fire?

woman fighting a fire

How many families do you know that have an emergency plan in case of a fire? At best, we'd say a handful, if any.

In 2018, there were 247 fire related deaths and 3,106 fire related injuries (Source: Fire and rescue incident statistics), of which many probably could have been avoided with the right precautions and methods beforehand.

By having a clear and simple evacuation plan in case of a fire can save lives.

Spend 10 Minutes In Discussing An Escape Plan

We highly recommend you take 10 minutes out of your family breakfast time, at least once a year to discuss what to do in case of fire at home. At the very least, memorise these points:

  • If you have purchased a home fire extinguisher, then use it if you feel able.
  • If you are not confident, then look for the closest exit, call the fire service and ask for help.
  • If you have a scarf or shawl, use that to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Always crawl along the floor if it's a smoke filled room.

To help you along the way, we've devised a 5 point plan to improve your family's chances of survival in case of a house fire.

1. Use a Fire Extinguisher if you feel confident and able

Not everyone is clued up on the the correct types of fire extinguishers, but if you do know the differences and you know which one to use depending on the type of fire, then you might feel confident enough to tackle a small blaze before it gets out of hand. (Check out our review on which type is best suited to your residence).

All you have to do is remember the P-A-S-S System:

  1. Pull the pin: this will break the seal.
  2. Aim at the base of the fire: This is where the source of a fire is.
  3. Squeeze the handle: whether it's water, foam or powder is dependent on the type.
  4. Sweep from side to side, keeping the nozzle pointed at the base area until fire is doused out.

If it's a really small fire, such as in the kitchen, then you might even have a fire blanket to contain the fire before it goes beyond the cooker area.

Note: Do not use a fire extinguisher on a burning fire unless you are able and that it’s safe for you to take on the task. If in doubt, call your local fire service.

2. Look for the closest exit, Check for hot door handles and doors

If you have designated a door exit out, check the door handles and doors to see how hot they are. If the handle is scorching hot or if the door is stopping a raging fire on the other side, then it's time to look for an alternative route of the premises including a window escape.

3. Protect your nose and mouth - reduce smoke inhalation

As you are approaching the designated exit route, grab a scarf, shawl, clothing item etc that may be close to hand and use this to cover your nose and mouth.

​Fire produces poisonous gases and toxins. Inhalation of these emissions can actually do a lot of damage and even kill before the flames of a fire get anywhere near.

Inhalation can cause light headedness and fainting.

4. Crawl Along the floor -  again, minimise smoke inhalation

Ensuring that the base of the fire has been doused and there is no fire in your escape route, crawl beneath any lingering flames that may be higher up and crawl out beneath it.

5. Use a set of fire escape ladders if you're above the first floor

If you've had the foresight to purchase these and you are able to use it, now is the time to get into action! We talk about the best fire escape ladders here.

6. Once Your out, Seek Help and call your local fire service number

Now that you're out of the burning property, get some distance. Other external parts of the house might still be on fire and burning debris could fall on you if you stand too close.

At this point seek help from others and find a way of calling your local fire emergency department whether it's using your phone or asking someone nearby to do it.

To read more articles like this, visit our Home Safety page.