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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Michelle Cullen

What to do if a house fire breaks out - three rules that could save your life

A house fire can be a devastating and destructive blow to any household but knowing how to prepare and what to do if a fire starts could save lives and thousands of euro in damages.

Preparation is vital when it comes to fires, as having a working emergency plan in place will help those within the building exit quickly and safely.

The plan should cover exactly what you need to do if a fire breaks out in your home.

Every person living in the home should be made aware of the plan, and it should be practised regularly.

House fire (

Key elements in a fire plan

The following guidelines should be included in any fire plan.

  1. Keep corridors, halls, doors and windows clear at all times.

  2. Raise the alarm. Wake everyone up and get everyone out the quickest way.

  3. Check doors with the back of your hand – don’t open them if they are warm. This means the fire is on the other side.

  4. Only open the doors that you need to get out of the house.

  5. If there is smoke, crawl along near to the floor where the air will be cleaner.

  6. Do not look for the cause of the fire.

  7. Meet at an assembly point outside your home and make sure everyone is out.

  8. Call the fire brigade on 112 or 999 from a mobile phone or neighbour's home.

  9. Do not go back into your home until the fire brigade tells you it is safe. By going back into the building, you'll prevent the fire service from doing what they need to do and put your own life at risk.

A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “If you find yourself trapped in your home because of fire or smoke, make your way to a room, close the door and put a towel or sheet (preferably damp) at the bottom of the door and block the gap.

“Make sure we know where you are. Shout out the window or tell us on 999”.

You can also implement other measures to ensure fires are noticed quickly and as little as possible harm is caused to your loved ones.

Install working smoke alarms and heat detectors. Once installed, detectors must be tested at least once a week.

Purchasing fire extinguishers and fire blankets for your home will also be useful should a fire break out. However, if you have these items, you should ensure you know how to use them and that they are easy to get to.

'Last thing at night' routine

Before going to bed at night, you should carry out a 'last thing at night' routine.

Your last thing at night check-list could include:

  • Check that your exits and hallways are clear before you go to bed.

  • Close all interior doors.

  • If you need a key for your front and back door, make sure that the keys are kept close to the doors in an accessible place known to everyone in the home.

  • Make sure fires are out or nearly out at night. Put fire guards in front of open fires.

  • Do not leave your television, radio or music system on standby.

  • Only appliances designed for 24-hour use should be left plugged in at night-time—for example, fridges and freezers.

  • Plug out the mobile phone charger when you go out or go to bed.

  • Switch off and plug out your electric blanket before you go to sleep.

  • Empty ashtrays properly and put out candles.

  • Make sure gas appliances are turned off.

What to do if someone catches fire

If you or your child catch fire, you 'stop, drop and roll'. This means stopping what you are doing, getting onto the ground and rolling.

The ground should suffocate the fire and not a person's hands.

A fire blanket can also be used by placing it over you and then do the 'stop, drop and roll'.

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