Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Preparing and practicing a home escape plan can make all the difference.
Don’t Wait, Plan Your Escape
- Every family should have a home fire escape plan [PDF - 876 KB].
- Draw your plan, marking two ways out of every room. Include windows.
- Pick a meeting place outside, well away from the building.
- Tell everyone to meet there after they’ve escaped. Count heads and tell the fire department if anyone is missing.
- Remember to call the fire department from a safe location.
Practice Your Plan
- Plans are great, but practicing them is the only way to know if they work.
- Hold a home fire drill.
- Getting out of your own home sounds easy, but your home can look very different if it’s full of smoke.
- Children in particular need to practice.
- Children practice drills at school, but rarely at home. Fires are far more likely to happen at home.
Fire Drill Checklist
- Discuss the escape plan with all family members.
- Start the drill with everyone in their room, pretending to be asleep.
- Signal the start of the drill by sounding the smoke alarm. It is especially important for children to recognize the sound of the smoke alarm so they will react appropriately when they hear it.
- Practice using your main escape routes first. Don’t run. Quickly and calmly exit the home and go to the family meeting place.
- The family meeting place is located safely away from the building and out of the way of the arriving fire department.
- Everyone arrives at the family meeting place in under two minutes.
- Someone pretends to go call 9-1-1 for help. They know what information to give the 911 dispatcher.
Tips for a Safe Escape
- If you see smoke, try another way out. If you can’t avoid the smoke, crawl under it on your hands and knees.
- Test doors before you open them. If you touch the door and it is warm, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it cautiously.
- Don’t stop or go back for anything. Possessions can be replaced. You can’t.
- Remember fire spreads quickly. Get out fast and stay out.
- Call the fire department as quickly as possible.