Escape Strategy

The following is a dangerous assumption. A fire in the living room on the sofa fire blocks the front door, your normal way out. The stairways and upstairs halls fill with smoke in a couple minutes, blocking access to all doors. A couple minutes later and every bedroom could have life-threatening conditions, long before anyone would expect the conditions to reach this point.

Eight out of ten fatal fires happen at home, yet most households are unprepared for a fire emergency. Develop an escape plan for your family and practice it. There’s no time to lose in a real fire emergency. The more you and your family know about fire the better they will react if you have one.


Make a Plan

Draw a floor plan of your home, making two ways out (including windows) of every room, and decide on the best escape routes.
Pick an outside meeting place. Preferably in front of your home-and tell everyone to meet there after they have escaped, so you can count heads and tell firefighters in anybody’s trapped inside. You can use this Home Fire Escape Plan template from the U.S. Fire Administration to help you get started.

Practice It

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Hold home fire drills. Appoint someone to be the monitor and be sure that everyone participates. Make your exit drills realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by smoke or fire and practice using alternative escape routes.

Remember, a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly but be careful!