Safety advice: People at risk – Fire

Control Measure Knowledge

Fire survival guidance (FSG) should be given where people at risk are directly affected by fire and cannot get to a place of safety. However, there are occasions where people may not be trapped but require safety advice to ensure they remain as safe as possible from the effects of flames, heat or smoke.

People who are at risk from fire should not be encouraged to investigate or attempt to extinguish the fire themselves unless they are trained to do so and have the appropriate extinguishing equipment.

Once evacuation advice has been taken, people at risk should not re-enter the property as they could put themselves at additional risk and delay or obstruct operational personnel in extinguishing the fire. If people are still inside the building, the caller should wait at a safe place near the building and inform operational personnel about the person or people inside.

There may be occasions where callers or other members of the public who are not directly involved in or affected by the fire want to attempt to rescue people at risk prior to the arrival of operational personnel. This may be in a building fire or in other types of situations such as a vehicle fire with people trapped inside.

‘Helping behaviour’ is a concept in social psychology that refers to voluntary actions intended to help others, with reward regarded or disregarded. It is a type of pro-social behaviour where an action – such as sharing, comforting, rescuing or helping – is intended to help or benefit others. While people who are not at risk should not be encouraged to attempt to rescue people at risk because of the dangers involved, it should be recognised that people’s desire to help in an emergency may result in them ignoring the advice that fire control personnel provide.

In such situations, the following safety advice can be given to the person who is helping:

  • Cover mouth and nose with a cloth to help reduce inhalation of smoke and gases
  • Crouch low to the ground to help reduce the of amount of smoke and hot gases they are exposed to
  • Retreat if the flames, heat or smoke are too strong
  • Keep their exit in view at all times

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions