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Welcome to the Basic Fire Awareness Training.


1. What does it take to start a fire.
2. Some common fire hazards
3. What to do in the event of a fire.
4. Dealing with smoke.
5. Reporting a fire.
6. Fire exits and escape routes.
7. Fire safety in your workplace.
8. Fire extinguishing media.
9. In summary.


Fire kills. It is essential that all staff members are trained in basic fire safety awareness. This training module provides you with the information needed to minimise the risk of fire. Please ensure you read the sections below carefully.

What Does It Take To Start A Fire?

This simple fire triangle shows the three elements that are required to start a fire:

FUELWhich could be in the form of a Solid, Liquid or a Gas.

OXYGENWhich is in the air we breath (approx 21%)

HEATA minimum temperature, known as ignition temperature, is required and this varies depending on what materials are present


Remove any of these three elements from the triangle and fire cannot start or be maintained:

Remove the fuel – i.e. in the case of gas, turn off the gas and the fire goes out.
Remove the oxygen – i.e. starve the fire of oxygen and the flames subside.
Cool the heat – i.e. drench burning paper with water and the fire is put out.


Some Common Fire Hazards

Fires love rubbish – Arson is still one of the most common causes of fire in the  UK.  Fire  can find  ideal conditions in  the accumulation  of  paper, cardboard and general workplace waste. Many fires are started by either intentional or accidental ignition of rubbish which has been left unsecured and easily accessible. Get rubbish out of the premises & into covered bins/skips as quickly and as often as possible.



The discarded cigarette-end is also one of the most common causes of fires. Getting rid of rubbish will help reduce fires from this cause – but even so, wherever cigarettes and matches are used, there is a chance of a fire starting. It is against the Law in the UK to smoke in buildings accessible to the public but if combustible materials are left outside the property they are at risk from discarded cigarettes.


Portable  heaters – electric,  oil  or  gas  etc. –  can start fires if combustible materials come into close contact with them, or if they are knocked over. All heaters should be positioned well away from likely sources of ignition. Securing the heaters so that they cannot be easily knocked over is a good idea. Gas and oil heaters should be kept away from draughts. Items of clothing should not be placed on heaters to dry as they may be forgotten and cause a fire. Heater vents should be kept clear and clean to ensure good ventilation.

Good Housekeeping

Good housekeeping is an essential part of good management practice; it benefits efficiency, aids production and is also a good fire precaution. Well-organised and carefully maintained premises are much safer from fire. The likelihood of fire breaking out is reduced and should fire occur it will be easier to control and extinguish.

Electrical Adapters

Always ensure cable extensions are fully unwound before use, this will reduce the risk of overloading. Avoid using cube shaped multi socket adaptors as these can easily be overloaded and sometimes can be partially pulled out of the socket which can cause arcing. Check equipment before use and report any defects. Never connect a multi-socket adaptor into another multi-socket

Most Fire Start From Carelessness

A small mistake or even a moment’s lapse of attention could result in a major fire, an injury, total destruction  of  the  business  or  even  death.  Avoid  short  cuts;  do  not  be  tempted  to  use inappropriate/defective materials or equipment to save time or money as this may increase the risk of something going seriously wrong.

What To Do In The Event Of A Fire

If the alarm is raised YOU MUST

Calmly make a fast and safe evacuation.

If you’re with a visitor, ask them to follow you.

Go immediately to your assembly point and report for a roll call.


If the alarm is raised YOU MUST NOT

Stop to collect your personal belongings.

Attempt to return to your own workstation or try to finish the work you are doing.

Use lifts or escalators (unless they have been specifically designed to allow for fire evacuation)
as the power may be switched off and you may become trapped or have an accident.


If you discover a fire YOU MUST

Raise the alarm. Shout to notify anyone in the vicinity.

Activate the fire alarm immediately.

Evacuate from the building by the safest route.

Close doors behind you (if you are the last one out), to stop the fire spreading.

Ensure the Fire Service is immediately notified, once you are in a safe location.
Go to your assembly point and report for a roll call.


If you discover a fire DO NOT

Panic, it can affect your ability to make safe decisions and can make others panic.

Risk being trapped. Never move to a position where the fire is between you and your exit.

Put yourself in further danger.

Attempt to tackle a fire unless you are certain you can do so safely. If there is any doubt,
GET OUT – leave it to the Fire Service


If you feel confident that you can quickly and safely contain the fire, you could:

Move flammable material to stop the fire spreading.

Use a fire extinguisher to control the fire (fire extinguishers are explained further on in this workbook).

But… When in doubt, GET OUT! Leave it to the Fire Service

Dealing With Smoke

Smoke is as dangerous as fire. Smoke rises, so if you are evacuating from a smoke filled area, the safest place is likely to be near to the floor. If possible, crawl to the nearest exit while taking care to avoid colliding with, or impeding anyone else.


Fire Action Notices like the one shown below should guide you on what action to take in the event of an emergency. If you are unsure ask your manager or supervisor to explain the company’s emergency procedures straight away.

The notices with arrows will guide you in the safe direction (follow the arrows) to your designated assembly point.


Reporting A Fire

To report  a  fire,  dial  the  emergency  services telephone number. The emergency operator handles calls to all the emergency services so you will have to
ask for the Fire Service. Once you are through to the  Fire  Service’s  emergency  call  centre,  you should be ready to explain as clearly and calmly as possible:

  1. The address of the premises
  2. Whether anyone is trapped or injured
  3. Where the fire is in the building
  4. The nature of the problem

The Fire Service will automatically contact the Ambulance Service and Police if necessary

Fire Exits and Escape Routes

Fire Exits are there to provide you with quick and easy passage to a place of complete safety outside of the building and should be readily available and easily openable without the use of a key, at all times. A locked Fire Exit might as well not be there.

Fire Exits and Escape Routes must be kept clear and free from obstruction at all times, inside and outside of the property. There should be nothing at all to impede your progress along the Escape Route and nothing blocking the Fire Exit when you get there.

A simple way to look at it would be to ask yourself one question:- “If the building was full of smoke and I couldn’t see, would I be able to make my way out of the Fire Exit quickly and easily?”

If the answer is “No” then something needs to be done about it.


Fire Safety in your Workplace

Prepare yourself by making sure you know the Fire Safety provisions in your workplace. Ask yourself:

  1. Where’s the nearest Fire Alarm?
  2. Where’s the nearest Fire Exit and where does it lead?
  3. Where’s the nearest Fire Extinguisher and do I know how to use it?
  4. Do I know the evacuation procedures including those for people with disabilities?
  5. Where’s my Assembly Area?
  6. Who is my Fire Marshal?

If you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, consult your health and safety notice board or ask your manager!

Fire Safety in Other Locations

When visiting other locations or travelling, always ensure you know the fire safety procedures and fire exits. If there is a fire, the route you exit by is important. Think of the most direct route to exit. Don’t limit yourself to the route you entered the building by.

Fire Extinguishing Media

Fire Blanket

Fire Blanket are particularly useful for smothering flammable liquid fires or for wrapping round a person whose clothing is on fire.
Best For
Fires involving both solids and liquids. Particularly good for small clothing fires and for chip and fat pan fires providing the blanket completely covers the fire.
If the blanket does not completely cover the fire, it will not be able to extinguish it
How to Use
Place carefully over the fire. Keep your hands shielded from the fire. Do not waft the fire towards you.

Fire Extinguishers

Signal Red.
Best For
Fires involving organic solid materials such as wood, cloth, paper, plastics, Coal etc.
Do not use on burning fat or oil or on electrical appliances.
How to Use
Point the jet at the base of the flames and keep it moving across the area of the fire. Ensure that all areas of the fire are out.
Best For
Fires involving solids and burning liquids, such as paint and petrol but not suitable for chip or fat pan fires. Safe on fires caused by electricity if tested to 35kV (dielectric test) and a 1m safety distance is adhered to.
Do not use on chip or fat pan fires.
How to Use
For fires involving solids, point the jet at the base of the flames and keep it moving across the area of the fire. Ensure that all areas of the fire are out. For fires involving liquids, do not aim the jet straight into the liquid. Where the liquid on fire is in a container, point the jet at the inside edge of the container or on a nearby surface above the burning liquid. Allow the foam to build up and flow across the liquid.
Best For
Can be used on fires involving organic solids, liquids such as grease, fats, oil, paint, petrol, etc but not on chip or fat pan fires. Can also be used on gas fires.
Safe on live electrical equipment, although does not penetrate the spaces in equipment easily and the fire may re-ignite. This type of extinguisher does not cool the fire very well and care should be taken that the fire does not flare up again.
Smouldering material in deep seated fires such as upholstery or bedding can cause the fire to start up again. Do not use on domestic chip or fat pan fires. There is danger of inhalation if powder extinguishers are used within buildings.
How to Use
Point the jet or discharge horn at the base of the flames and, with a rapid sweeping motion, drive the fire towards the far edge until all the flames are out. If the extinguisher has a hand control, wait until the air clears and if you can still see the flames, attack the fire again.
Best For
Live electrical equipment, although it allows re-ignition of hot plastics. Now mainly used on large computer servers, although care has to be taken not to asphyxiate people when using the extinguisher in small server rooms.
Do not use on chip or fat pan fires, as it carries burning fat out of container. This type of extinguisher does not cool the fire very well and you need to ensure that the fire does not start up again. Fumes from CO2 extinguishers can asphyxiate if used in confined spaces: ventilate the area as soon as the fire has been controlled. Only use CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horns, as the hand holding the horn can otherwise be frozen to the horn, as the gas is getting very cold during the discharge.


How to Use
The discharge horn should be directed at the base of the flames and the jet kept moving across the area of the fire.
Canary Yellow
Best For
Wet chemical fire extinguishers are ideal for Class F fires, involving cooking oils and fats, such as lard, olive oil, sunflower oil, maize oil and butter.
Check manufacturer’s instructions for suitability of use. These extinguishers are usually not recommended for class B fires such as petrol.
How to Use
Apply the wet chemical using the extended applicator in slow circular movements, which give a gentle, yet highly effective application. Apply the fine spray onto the burning fat until the surface of the burning cooking oil changes into a soapy like substance which prevents re-ignition. The gentle application helps to prevent burning oil splashing out of the container. Make sure that you empty the entire content of the wet chemical extinguisher onto the oil/fat, as the fire can re-ignite otherwise.


In Summary

  • When the fire alarm is activated, evacuate quickly and safely by the most direct route.
  • If you discover a fire, shout to notify those in the immediate danger area and activate the fire alarm. Evacuate from the building and ensure the Fire Service has been contacted.
  • When evacuating from a smoke filled room, the safest breathing area is nearest the floor.
  • Never place yourself in further danger. Only tackle a fire if you are certain that you can do so safely.
  • Once you have evacuated from the building, go immediately to your assembly point.