Home Escape Plans

Why you need a home escape plan

  • Working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan can reduce your risk of injury or death in a fire.   
  • Most fatal fires happen in homes.
  • When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to get out of the building. Fires double in size every minute.
  • Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see or breathe. Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.

Useful Links


Practice your home escape plan

  • Plan a home escape route that includes two ways out of every room. Draw a floor plan of your home. Include all doors, windows, halls, stairs and fire escapes that can be used to get outside. Use arrows to show the escape route and the two ways out of each room. 
  • Choose a meeting place outdoors. 
  • Make sure that each family member can open door locks and window latches. Check to see if all windows that are part of the escape plan open easily and have not been painted shut. 
  • If your home has security bars or child window guards, they should have a quick-release feature that can be operated from the inside. 
  • Keep pathways through the house clear of obstacles such as furniture, newspapers, toys, etc. 
  • Plan around your abilities. If you wear eyeglasses or hearing aids, keep them at your bedside along with a flashlight. 
  • Post your house numbers on the outside of the home. Make sure the number is clearly visible from the street.

What to do when a smoke alarm sounds

  • Roll out of bed to the floor and stay low beneath the smoke. 
  • Crawl to the door. Check the door for heat with the back of your hand. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. If the coast is clear of fire, crawl to escape. Do not open a hot door. 
  • If you can't go out the door due to heat or flames, place a towel or blanket at the base of the door to keep smoke out. Crawl to a window and open it. Turn on a light. If you can safely reach the ground, exit. Otherwise, shout and signal for help. Don’t jump. A firefighter’s first priority is to rescue people. 
  • Signal others by calling or banging on walls. 
  • Leave the building. Get out and stay out! Go to the family meeting place. 
  • Dial 911 from a neighbor’s house.