People who live in a high-rise are at no greater risk of having a fire because of the type of building in which they live. All high-rise buildings are designed and built to ensure that a fire is contained to the flat where it starts and should not spread to other flats for 60 minutes. This provides time for the fire service to deal effectively with incidents and should ensure that other residents are not affected.
If there is a fire inside a flat or maisonette, the advice is to alert everyone in that particular flat, leave the building by following its evacuation route and access, and close all the doors. Then call 999.
If there’s a fire in your building, but not your particular flat, you’re usually safer to stay there unless you’re being directly affected by heat or smoke.
We suggest everyone living in a flatted estate has a fire emergency plan in place, to ensure everyone within their property knows what to do. If you live in a high rise block and there is a fire, you should remain in your flat if it is safe to do so, unless the fire is within your, or your neighbour’s property, or advised by the fire service to leave. This is the policy endorsed by Dudley Council and the fire service.
If you live in a low rise flat and there is a fire you should leave your property - if it is safe to do so.
You are advised to call 999 immediately for advice and to check that the emergency services know what’s happening. By their very nature, fires are extremely dynamic incidents. Once firefighters arrive and have assessed the situation, advice to remain in your home may have to be repeated or changed – but it will depend on several factors, including the nature and spread of the fire, and the building.
If you live in a high-rise block or tower, though, here are some specific tips:
- make sure you know the escape plan for your particular building
- keep exits clear – in your own flat and in shared areas
- never wedge a fire door open
- don’t make changes to your flat’s front door without seeking advice from the Council
- keep corridors and stairwells clear and sterile, eg do not dump rubbish or old furniture there
- if you have any concerns, raise them as soon as you can with the Council
Emergency Evacuation Plan
If it is ever necessary to evacuate the building in an emergency situation :
- make sure all persons in your flat are aware of the need to evacuate
- leave your belongings behind in your flat
- close the front door behind you
- follow the emergency routes
- do not use the lift
- congregate in a safe area outside the building