Fire Safety Tips

How To Survive…

In 1998, 20 Jamaicans died in home fires, that is more than 3 persons per Month. Many more were injured. You can survive even major fires in your home if you are alerted to the fire, get out quickly, and stay out.
  • Plan Your Escape
    When a fire occurs, there's no time for planning. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire.
    • Draw a floor-plan of Your Home
      The floor plan marks the way(s) out of every room – especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.
    • Agree on a Meeting place
      A meeting place outside your home, where every member of the household will gather after escaping a fire to wait for the Fire Brigade, should be agreed among your family. This allows you to count heads and inform the Brigade if anyone is trapped inside the burning building.
    • Practise Your Escape Plan
      Practise at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully.
    • Make Your Exit Drill Realistic
      Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practise alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke.
    • Be Prepared
      Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with quick release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.
    • If You live in a two-storey House
      If your house is a two-storey, and you must escape from a second-storey window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible sleep on the ground floor.
  • In Case of Fire
    When there's a fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the Fire Brigade from a neighbour's phone or an alarm box. Every member of your household should know how to call the Brigade.
    • Test Doors Before Opening Them
      While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob, and the space between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.
    • If You're Trapped
      If you are trapped in an area, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light-coloured cloth or a flashlight. If there's a phone in the room, call the Fire Brigade or 110, and tell them exactly where you are.
    • Crawl Low Under Smoke
      Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) above the floor.
    • Get Out Fast via the planned escape route

      Once you are out of your home don't go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
  • Play it Safe
    • Smoke Detectors
      More than half of all home fires happen at night while people are asleep. Smoke detectors sound an alarm when a fire starts, alerting people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke. With smoke detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half. Install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Follow installation instructions carefully and test smoke detectors monthly. Change all smoke detector batteries at least once a year. If your detector is more than 10 years old, replace it.
    • Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems
      Sprinklers attack a fire in its early stages by spraying water only on the area where the fire is detected. Consider including sprinkler systems in plans for new construction and installing them in existing homes.
      • Make an escape plan and practise it...
      • Install and maintain smoke detectors...
      • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system...

Electrical Appliance

Some electrical appliances have been designed to be left on all the time - for example most videos. If you are not sure about whether you have appliances which can be left on, check with the manufacturer or the shop where you bought them. All other electrical appliances should be switched off and unplugged when you are not using them. Never leave them on overnight. Never remove a plug by pulling the flex. Always use the plug. Remember: one socket, one plug. You could overheat a socket and start a fire by putting several adaptors into one socket. Always make sure your plugs and adaptors have the right fuse for the appliance you are using. In doubt check with an approved electrician. Learn the wiring colours and make sure you follow them when fitting a plug. Always use the correct fuse for the equipment you are using and follow the manufacturers instructions.


A lit cigarette or pipe can be deadly. Never leave a lit cigarette or pipe unattended. If you have left a cigarette or pipe burning on the brim of an ashtray, they may fall onto an armchair, or the carpet, particularly if the ashtray is already full. The armchair or carpet will soon catch fire and start to give off dense smoke and fumes making it difficult for you and your family to escape. Falling asleep with a lit pipe or cigarette can also be fatal, especially in bed where the bed linen will quickly catch fire. The smoke and fumes will not wake you. Make sure you stub out the cigarette before going to bed and never smoke in a chair if you think you will doze off in it.

Frying Pans

Frying pans are common causes of fire in the home.
  • Never fill a pan more than one-third full of fat or oil.
  • Never leave the pan unattended when the heat is switched on.
  • If the pan does catch fire do not move it and never throw water on it.
  • Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so,
  • Cover the pan with a damp cloth or a damp tea towel and leave it to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Open Fires

Always put a fire guard round an open fire. You should never rest clothes to dry or put newspapers on the guard as they will catch fire or get too hot to handle and could cause burns.


  • Look out for warning signs of dangerous wiring:
  • Hot plugs and sockets
  • Fuses that blow for no obvious reason
  • Lights flickering
  • Brown scorch marks on sockets and plugs


Always make sure that saucepans are in a safe position on the cooker. Handles should not stick over the edge where they can be knocked over, or left within the reach of children. Make sure the handles are not over a hot ring or burner. Flexes from electrical equipment such as kettles and toasters should be kept well away from the cooker and tea towels should never be dried over the cooker. Never leave a saucepan unattended with the heat turned on and be especially careful when using chips pans with oil or fat. Make sure that ovens are not left on after use.


In an emergency you're in charge!

Never leave the children alone.

When they are alone they have accidents with matches, the stove, deep water, poisons and falls.

Check that any matches or lighters are stored out of sight and above the stretch zone line (an imaginary line around each room which is above the reach of the children)

Heaters: move portable heaters away from play areas. Keep the heater away from curtains and furniture also.

Safe objects: Trade sharp objects or electrical objects for something safe to play with.

DON'T SMOKE: baby-sitters have caused child deaths as a result of smoking. Also children often try to copy what others do. Refrain from smoking around children if possible.


Plan ahead: know how to get children out of bedrooms if the front or back doors are blocked by smoke. Make sure you know in advance what all your escape options are.

Smoke danger: smoke kills, shut doors to where the fire is if possible, to stop the smoke filling the house and blocking your escape route.

Crawl in smoke: show the children by crawling in smoke they can get clearer air.

Make sure everyone is outside and don't try to go back into the house.

Call the fire service: (you may need to call from the house next door)

Know the address of the house: Give the address as, street number and name, town, and the nearest side street if you know it.


Lock the doors: but be sure they can be easily opened in case of emergency.

Don't open the doors to anyone: The exception may be when your employer has personally told you that a caller is expected.

Phone calls: Be brief and businesslike on the phone. Don't encourage conversation if you don't know who the caller is.

Don't tell the caller you are the sitter. Tell them you will take a message and say that Mr. and Mrs................................ will be home shortly.


Children, because of their natural curiosity, can be at great risk from fire. You should never leave children alone in a room where there are portable heaters, cookers or an open fire. Keep matches and lighters well out of their reach and never leave children alone in the house.

Bedtime routine

Many fires in the home start at night. Make sure you have a bedtime fire safety routine to help keep your home and family safe. Here are a few simple things which you should do every night.

  • Unplug all electrical appliances not designed to stay on.
  • Make sure no cigarettes are still burning.
  • Before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold.
  • Put a guard around open fires.
  • Switch off portable heaters.
  • Close of the doors of all unoccupied rooms.
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