Over half of people living in Britain wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a fire

To mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London in 1666, comparethemarket.com carried out a survey of 2,000 people living in Britain to find out if they would know what to do in the event of a fire. The research has revealed some surprising statistics:

  • 54% of people living in Britain wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a fire
  • Almost 20% of people living in Britain don’t have building or contents insurance policies
  • 44% of younger millennials (18-24 year olds) also don’t have building or contents insurance policies
  • 38% of Britons also admit that they wouldn’t know what to do in the event of fire, flood or storm
  • The research also suggested that Britons in this day and age would save the same things from their home as Britons saved in 1666


The Great Fire of London changed the London landscape forever. It caused huge destruction but led to the creation of the city we are familiar with today.  Although over three centuries have passed, comparethemarket.com has found that the people in 1666 facing the fire were more similar to us than you might think.

Samuel Pepys, the renowned diarist who wrote vividly about the fire, recorded people making sure their families were safe, and carrying their goods and documents out of the city.  Pepys himself made sure to save his precious diary as well as burying his parmesan cheese and wine.


Even though there have been huge changes to our way of life since 1666, it seems that we continue to find the same things important.  comparethemarket.com’s research found that after our family members and pets, the next things we save are our important documents.  One in ten people said that important documents would be the first things they would grab!

The Great Fire also led to the birth of the modern day insurance industry. As Londoners rebuilt their city, they realised that sharing the losses from future fires would be a good idea.  Dr. Nicholas Barbon and his associates pioneered an early version of insurance against fires that’s developed into the insurance industry in which comparethemarket.com operates today.

Have we learned the lessons our forebears learnt in the 17th century?

Worryingly, no we have not. comparethemarket.com found that only 38% of Britons admit that they wouldn’t know what to do in the event of fire, flood or storm.

With this in mind, comparethemarket.com has commissioned a Safety Hub which has been designed to give guidance to people on what to do should they experience a fire, flood or storm. Visitors to the site can find information in respect of  how to minimise their impact   There are also helpful things comparethemarket.com can do to make sure your life gets back to normal as soon as possible.

This content complements a special animated video that shows how, after being all but destroyed in the Great Fire, London was nevertheless able to rebuild itself. This takes the story from 1666 all the way to the present day, marking key moments in the city’s development into the business powerhouse it is today.

comparethemarket.com was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past nine years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites.

comparethemarket.com provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice on a wide range of products including motor, home, life, travel and pet insurance as well as utilities and money products such as credit cards and loans.

comparethemarket.com actively works with its brand partners to help provide great services to their customers.

comparethemarket.com is a trading name of BISL Limited.  BISL Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Address: Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6YS. Registered in England number 3231094.

Just like comparethemarket.com, DB Fire Safety Ltd operates from Peterborough.   DB Fire Safety Ltd offers fire risk assessments, fire awareness training, fire marshall training, fire strategies and fire safety consultancy.

DB Fire Safety Contact

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