High-rise safety

Those living in high-rise blocks aren't more at risk from fire, but we've got some helpful advice to keep you safe if there's an emergency.



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.

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.

Evacuation procedures vary from building to building, depending on their design. If you live or work in a high-rise building, the owner or landlord must have an evacuation policy in place specific to that building, so it’s important they share it with you.

If a fire’s happening, our advice will take account of the information we have and of the fire safety measures that should already be in place.

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 plan 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.

If the advice you are given, by your landlord or building owner, is to ‘stay put’, still 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, the advice to stay put 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.

But we all know that the ideal situation is to avoid a fire starting in the first place, which is why our prevention work with residents is also extremely important.

High-rise specific safety advice:

If you do 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– your landlord has a legal duty to give you a copy, so ask for one if you haven’t had it
  • 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 managing agency
  • 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 your landlord.

We also recommend checking out our other safety pages which you’ll find below.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram