Develop My Emergency Escape Plan

Whether you live in a multi-story house, apartment, townhouse, or mobile home, the same home safety tips apply. Knowing what to do in case of fire and how to identify potential hazards can save the lives of the people you love most.

In addition to properly outfitting your home with smoke alarms, you should develop and regularly practice a home escape plan in case a real fire should occur. We have provided a convenient diagram (right) to help you develop your family's escape plan.

First take into consideration the following:

  • Plan an escape route with your family present.
  • When planning your escape, identify more than one potential exit for each room and each level. Create several different escape plans, in case one or more exits are blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Be sure that your escape plan takes into account the particular characteristics of each member of your family including age, physical conditions, sleeping habits, hearing ability, etc.
  • Young children often panic in fires, hiding in closets or under beds. Teach them not to hide and get out of a burning house immediately.
  • Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved - from kids to grandparents.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping.
  • If children or others do not readily awaken to the sound of the smoke alarm, or if there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency.
  • It is recommended that you hold a fire drill while family members are sleeping in order to determine their response to the sound of the smoke alarm. They may need assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice fire drills and your escape plan with the alarm sounding. This will teach children to associate the alarm signal with the need to escape.
  • Designate a meeting place outside of the home for the entire family - do a head count to be sure you have accounted for everyone.

When practicing an escape plan, be sure that all family members know and properly understand the following, especially children:

  • Feel the door before opening - if it's hot, don't open it. Use another escape route. If you can use the door, close it behind you. A closed door may help stall a fire.
  • Stay low. Smoke and heat rise. Crawl on the floor where there's less smoke and less severe heat.
  • Never return to a burning building for any reason including toys or pets.
  • If your clothes should catch fire, don't run! STOP where you are, cover your face, DROP to the ground, then ROLL over and over to smother the flames!