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Living in a building with a ‘stay put’ policy

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Living in a building with a ‘stay put’ policy

We work with local authorities, building developers, building managers and management committees to help to ensure that the procedures in the event of an emergency are safe

What is the ‘stay put’ policy

If a fire starts within a flat, everyone in the flat should be alerted, make their way out of the building and call the fire and rescue service.

If a fire starts in the communal areas of a block, anyone in these areas should make their way out of the building and call the fire and rescue service.

All other residents – not directly affected by the fire – are asked to stay in their flat unless directed to leave by the Fire and Rescue Service. It doesn’t mean that if they choose to leave the building they can’t, nor does it prevent those people leaving a flat that is on fire from alerting their neighbours so that they can escape if they feel threatened.

Is ‘Stay Put’ advice still valid?

The National Fire Chiefs Council’s position on the ‘Stay Put’ policy remains the same. If your property is affected by fire and your escape route is clear, get out, stay out, and call 999.

If there is a fire inside your property but your escape route is not clear, it may still be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire service arrives. Find a safe room, close the door and use soft materials to block any gaps to stop the smoke entering. Go to a window and raise the alarm and also call 999, ensuring you describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you.

If there is a fire elsewhere in your building, you are usually safer staying in your flat, calling 999 and telling the fire service where you are. Flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire and it is often safer to stay inside your property to avoid having too many people exiting the building at once while firefighters are trying to enter.

Why is it usually safer to ‘Stay Put’?

The advice to ‘Stay Put’ unless your flat is directly affected by fire or smoke is based on the fire protection provided in the building. The walls and doors of each flat are designed to give you protection in case of a fire. So, unless there’s a fire or smoke in your flat, it may be safer to stay put and let the building’s safety features do their job. Your well-being is our top priority, and we’ve got the right protections in place to keep you safe.

This advice has been around for a long time, and even though fires in flats happen every day, they usually stay in the flat where they started. Sometimes, a bit of smoke might get into the hall when people are leaving or when firefighters are putting out the fire. Staying in your place helps you avoid going into smoky hallways for no reason. Plus, it lets the firefighters deal with the fire fast and safe, without any delays from people leaving the building. Your safety and a quick response from the firefighters are the main goal.

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