Fire Safety at Home

To guard yourself against fire, you should be living in a domestic building which complies with fire safety requirements and take safety precautions yourself. Here you can learn about the fire safety issues in the building you live in, as well as fire prevention at home.

Fire Safety Requirements in Domestic Buildings

The purpose of the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance (the Ordinance) is to provide better protection from the risk of fire for occupants and users of, and visitors to, certain kinds of composite buildings and domestic buildings completed before 1987.  The Ordinance commenced operation on 1 July 2007. The Buildings Department and Fire Services Department will inspect and issue Fire Safety Directions to the owners or occupiers of the target composite buildings and domestic buildings stating the required fire safety improvements on fire safety construction and fire service installations and equipment.  The requirements of the fire safety direction will be varied for each building according to the Schedules of Cap. 572.

According to the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance Cap. 572, an owner or occupier of a composite or domestic building may be required to provide all or any of the following fire service installations and equipment:

  • automatic sprinkler system;
  • fire hydrant and hose reel system;
  • manual fire alarm system;
  • emergency lighting; and
  • automatic cut-off device for mechanical ventilation.

An owner may be required to comply with all or any of the following fire safety construction:

  • means of escape;
  • fire resisting construction; and
  • means of access for firefighting and rescue.

You can refer to the following links for more details about the Ordinance and fire resisting construction.

The Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance

Introduction to the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance Cap. 572 (pdf file)

More on fire resisting construction in buildings (pdf file)

FAQs on fire safety

Building Inspection and Maintenance

As a building owner or occupier, you can go through the following checklist when carrying out routine inspections on fire safety provisions of the building. The checklist helps you identify deficiencies and rectify them in advance.

Fire Safety Checklist (pdf file)

The Building Fire Safety Envoy Scheme provides training to building owners and occupiers on fire prevention in buildings. Trained envoys will then assist in monitoring building checkups and report irregularities to the Fire Services Department.

More on Fire Safety Envoy Scheme (available in Chinese only)

For owners of private buildings who wish to obtain financial assistance in carrying out maintenance and repair works to improve the safety conditions of their buildings, they may apply for the Building Safety Loan Scheme.

More on Building Safety Loan Scheme

Safety Issues for Sub-divided Units

Sub-division of flat units, commonly known as “sub-divided units”, often involves changes in non-structural partition walls, installation of additional toilets and kitchens, alteration of internal drains, etc, which may adversely affect environmental hygiene as well as fire safety. If you are living in a sub-divided unit, you should closely observe whether the building works contravene the Buildings Ordinance. Follow the guidelines in the FAQs below.

Frequently asked questions – sub-division of flat units

Fire Prevention in the Home

Every occupier has a part to play in taking fire precautions in their own households. These are some of the examples.

  • Use ashtray while smoking on a sofa or a chair.
  • Allow sufficient space behind your TV and radio set and do not block the ventilation openings.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits and plugging more than one adapter into the same socket.
  • Do not leave your cooking on stove unattended.
  • Regularly unplug the refrigerator and get rid of the dust from the motor compressor area.
  • Never place the heater too close to curtains, beds, settees or chairs.
  • When using essential oil with a vaporizer, keep the room ventilated.

Check out the following link for more instructions.

Fire prevention in the home (pdf file)

What to do in Case of Fire

Act quickly when you hear a fire alarm or discover a fire in your building. You must always protect yourself from smoke, as most people in a fire hazard die from smoke, not fire.

  • If there is a fire in your unit, tell everyone in your unit to leave and close all the doors after you left. Call 999 when you are safe.
  • If you decide to leave the building, don’t use the lift. Open the nearest stairway smoke door carefully. Use the stairway to leave the building only when there is no smoke.
  • If you find smoke on your way down the stairs, leave that stairway as soon as you can.
  • Wherever you are, if there is smoke, crawl low under it.
  • If you remain in your unit, do everything to keep smoke from entering your unit, such us using duct tape to seal cracks around the door and place wet towels at the bottom.
  • Show your rescuers where you are by hanging a sheet from the window.
  • Do not try to leave the unit a long time after the alarm has sounded. Stay there until you are told to leave.

It is essential you read through the following guideline.

What to do in case of fire (pdf file)

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Last review date: March 2021