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Home Escape Planning

Once a fire starts, it can spread rapidly. Halls and stairways may become filled with intense heat; poisonous gases and blinding smoke. Exits may be blocked, trapping you or your family. Protect your family by developing and practicing exit drills in the home starting today. Most fire deaths occur late at night while people are sleeping, you should practice your plan during the day and also practice one at night. Everyone should know exactly what to do if a fire occurs in your home.

Plan Your Escape

  • Gather your family together to discuss your plan.
  • Draw a floor plan of your entire house. Include the doors, windows, stairs, halls, and balconies.
  • Show two ways out of every room. One exit is your primary or normal route out of your home. A secondary or emergency exit should be identified in the event your primary exit is blocked. You may need to include safety ladders for second story windows. Check at your local hardware store.
  • Have a method of alerting the entire family when a fire is detected. Every home should have a working smoke detector.
  • Plan a meeting place outside and away from the home. Make sure everyone is accounted for and that no one goes back into a burning house. Once out, stay out!
  • Call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone. Dial 911.

Practice Your Plan

  • Have every member in your family participate.
  • Everyone should be in the bedroom with the door closed. A closed door will hold back deadly smoke and hot gases.
  • Sound the smoke detector, to alert the family.
  • Roll out of your bed and crawl on the floor to the door. Remember smoke and heat rises, stay low to the ground.
  • Feel the door with the backside of your hand. Pretend it feels hot. If hot, crawl to your secondary emergency exit. Practice a second time and pretend it feels cool. If your door feels cool to the touch, brace your shoulder against the door and open it cautiously. If hot heat and smoke rush in, closed the door immediately and go to your emergency exit.
  • Everyone should meet outside at the assigned family meeting place.
  • Discuss who will go the neighbor’s house to use the phone and call 911.
  • Practice your plan at least twice a year.