uitdebrandThe most important factor for your safety is prevention. But that is not the subject of this article.
If there is a small fire, then do as soon as possible an attempt to extinguish it. For a small fire that often succeeds. (See <Fire>.) It is getting harder and more dangerous as the fire grows.
If that fails, then you try to escape the safest possible way.

In places where you often are (home, work) you need to know the situation and escapement possibilities. Check it and try it. Even if the front (and back)door are no longer accessible.
If you are in a hotel or a public building, there hang signs and schedules with escape routes. As you stay overnight in a hotel it is worth the view, carefully and possibly check it. I myself used to look at events where many people are present, already from the entering. When panic strikes almost everyone will want to use a known route and is drumming back to the main entrance. So you quickly become jammed, and there are often accidents happen this way. So better watch to emergency exits and other escape options (and extinguishing material).

We use in our home more and more plastics, wood fibers and adhesives. In addition, space and windows are better insulated, so that the temperature can rise quickly. In 1950 it took 30 minutes before an interior was on fire. In 1975 only 15 minutes. And in 2013 only 3.5 minutes! So better care for a working smoke detector, and when there is fire: do not extinguish it, but get out.

If there is a fire, then hit the alarm. Warn (wake) everybody in the neighborhood and call 112.
Try not to panic, but quick to decide and act.
Do not waste time trying to save material things.
Flight as soon as possible, with every minute your chances of survival are dwindling dramatically.
Leave via the shortest (safe) way.
Never use the elevator.
Is there a lot of smoke and low visibility, keep during your evacuation a hand in contact with a wall. This prevents you walk back and forth, making detours or unwanted changes of direction.
Should you go to another room to get out, feel first with the back of your hand on the latch. Is that hot, or smoke comes under the door, leave it closed. Otherwise, open it slowly, and a small part, with your face turned away. Do not proceed until it appears safe.
Discard nor open any windows to get smoke out. The extra air will fuel the fire. Open them only to escape along there.
Doors that you encounter you better can let closed for the same reason, or even close them. Then the flames spread less quickly.
To decline with limited visibility on stairs you can better go down backwards.
Flight as it is possible to or via low lying areas. Heat and smoke rise.
For that reason, it is better crawling on the floor than to walk upright.

You may prefer to keep a wet cloth over your mouth and nose to breathe less toxic particles of smoke.
You can make a blanket wet and flip as extra protection against heat and flame.
Do not go looking for clothes, but if you have the chance, prefer to avoid artificial fabric, and put on a wool sweater. Of textile wool has the highest ignition temperature (570 to 600 degrees, compared to 475° for plastics). Synthetics melt very quickly, burn intensely, stay stick on your skin and give off toxic fumes. Wool sears, but goes out quickly. It will burn, and then makes poisonous prussic acid. It ignites after 40 seconds, compared to 20 to 30 seconds for other textiles.

Almost non-flammable are polyamide, aramid, polyvinyl chloride, PVC, and chlorinated fiber. Flame-retardant are polyester and polyamide. Other textiles are easily flammable. But time to read labels you won’t have.
 Loose-fitting clothing burn faster and fiercer than tight clothing.
Airy woven fabrics with a hairy surface like flannel, velvet, plush and terry ignite on contact with fire very quickly.

Leather offers the best resistance.

If you get enclosed and you have to rely on outside help, try to stay where you can be seen from the outside through the window in a closed room. Put towels around the door to keep smoke out. Try to keep cloths and door wet.

If clothing still ignites, then drop yourself to the ground and roll back and forth to smother the flames. Or extinguish with cool water.
Always rinse burns with fresh water.