You will need
Set up the space
- Everyone should get into pairs or groups of three.
- Each team should use furniture and other items in their meeting place to build obstacles around the room. It’s up to them what they use – get creative with tables, cones, or boxes. Just make sure not to use anything that’s could break easily or hurt anyone. Everyone should keep any real fire exits clear.
Learn what to do
Does anyone know what to do if they discover a fire in their home? The person leading the activity should help everyone understand what to do:
- Most importantly, keep calm.
- Raise the alarm: shout ‘fire!’ or set off the fire alarm (if there is one).
- Get out quickly and efficiently while staying safe. If you’re in a building with lifts, don’t use them.
- If there’s smoke, keep low to the ground where the air is clearer.
- Call 999 as soon as you’re clear of the building. Stay out of the building until the fire service say you can return.
- Most buildings have an assembly point to meet at if there’s a fire. If there isn’t one, stay clear of the fire but go somewhere you’ll be noticed when the fire service arrives.
- If you’re trapped in a room, stuff pillows or sheets around the bottom of the door to stop smoke getting in. Open a window, and wave a sheet (or something similar) to show the emergency services where you are.
Practise an escape
- Everyone should get back into their teams. The teams should spread out around the room.
- From where they're standing, everyone should plan an escape route in their heads. Where will they get out? How will they get there?
- The first person in each team should put on a blindfold. They should try to navigate the route they’ve planned, keeping low to the ground just like they would if the room were filled with smoke.
- Meanwhile, the rest of their team should make sure they don’t bump in to anything. They should offer directions if the blindfolded person gets stuck.
- Once they reach the exit, the blindfolded person should take off their blindfold and celebrate their safe escape.
- Everyone should return to where they were standing in step two, and repeat steps two to five with a different person blindfolded.
- Once everyone’s had a turn at being blindfolded, everyone should tidy up the obstacles.
- Everyone should try to navigate an escape route while blindfolded again. How much easier was it to get out when there weren’t obstacles in the way?
Plan your escape
- Everyone should imagine the layout of their home. They could jot it down on paper if that helps them to visualise it.
- Everyone should create an escape plan for themselves and the people they live with. How would they get out if there were a fire?
- Everyone should take their escape plans home and share them with the people they live with. They should talk about fire safety, share all they’ve learned, and agree how they’d evacuate their home in an emergency.
- Everyone should bring their escape plans to the next meeting and share them.
This activity was all about developing the skills to stay safe in an emergency situation. What’s the most important thing people learned in this activity? People’s answers will be different depending on what they already knew – but the most important thing to remember in a fire is to stay calm and raise the alarm. Knowing how to act in an emergency is an essential skill and it could even save lives. Why is it important to have a clear plan (even if it seems really obvious)? Obstacles and decreased vision can make it seem trickier, and it’s also easier to stay calm if you’re following a plan you made before the emergency began. Everyone should make sure that the people they live with know what to do in an emergency and that exits and walkways are kept clear.
- Heavy and awkward objects
Don’t lift or move heavy or awkward items without help. Break them down into smaller parts if possible.
Provide some light, so the environment isn’t completely dark. Everyone must be able to see others and move around the area safely.