Home Fire Escape Planning and Practice

Home fire escape planning and drills are an essential part of fire safety. A home fire escape plan needs to be developed and practiced before a fire strikes.

Home fire escape planning should include the following:

  • Drawing a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
  • Going to each room and pointing to the two ways out
  • Making sure someone will help children, older adults and people with disabilities wake up and get out
  • Teaching children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them
  • Establishing a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet after exiting
  • Having properly installed and maintained smoke alarms

Home fire escape practice should include the following:

  • Pushing the smoke alarm button to start the drill
  • Practicing what to do in case there is smoke: Get low and go. Get out fast.
  • Practicing using different ways out and closing doors behind you as you leave
  • Never going back for people, pets or things
  • Going to your outdoor meeting place
  • Calling 911 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone

Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms detect and alert people to a fire in the early stages. Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

Cooking

  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Thanksgiving is the leading day for fires involving cooking equipment.
  • The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly and stay in the home.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.

Heating

  • Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.
  • Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires.
  • All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from heating equipment.
  • Have a 3-foot (1-meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Purchase and use only portable space heaters listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Have a qualified professional install heating equipment.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.