When you live in blocks of flats you have to have a lot of trust. Trust that neighbours next door won’t fall asleep with a lit cigarette. Trust that the neighbour below doesn’t leave a candle near a curtain. Trust that the neighbour above doesn’t come in drunk and pop on a pan of chips. And trust that the angry person at the top doesn’t commit arson.
But even with all that trust, it is essential to have an emergency evacuation plan. When something major goes wrong in a block of flats, there isn’t time to grab anything – Our St Judes Almost Gas Pipe Explosion Incident there is only time to take yourself and any children and leave straight away.
It’s essential to not only have an evacuation plan, but a plan that is workable should fire and smoke reduce visibility to nothing.
Being based above ground floor means relying on clear stairways free from clutter and rubbish. Should this exit not be clear, our next plan would be to retreat to a room with our fire ladder. This is a piece of equipment for dire emergencies which will hook over the window sill and drop down to the ground. Of course, we don’t happen have a window sill, but it will sit on the window frame safely enough for an adult to steady it whilst children escape.
We also have a gas evacuation plan. That consists of a small bag by our front door containing a key for the service hatch, spare front door key, slippers, emergency blankets and tenancy paperwork. Of course, it has the emergency gas number Sharpied on: 0800 111 999.
Avon Fire and Rescue has a section on their website which gives essential advice about emergency fire evacuation plans as well as a video showing the difficulty of leaving a building that is filled with smoke.
If you are worried about fire safety in your home or feel you cannot come up with a suitable escape plan, you can arrange for a Home Fire Safety Visit on the Avon Fire and Rescue website.
For more information, visit: https://www.avonfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/fire-safety/escape-plans
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