Have an Escape Plan and Practice It

Beyond having smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, it’s also essential to have an escape plan in case of an emergency. Everyone in your household should help make the plan and practice it regularly. As part of your escape planning process, be sure you know if you live in a fireproof or non-fireproof building. Knowing if a structure is fireproof or non-fireproof will help you determine if you should stay or go, depending on the circumstances of the fire in your building. Always listen to instructions from the Fire Department personnel during emergencies.


Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits. Be sure all escape routes and hallways are clear of clutter and storage. Consider drawing a floor plan of your home and mapping two ways out for each sleeping area. If you live in an apartment building with three or more units, review its Fire Safety Plan.

• Teach everyone in your home how to unlock and open windows, doors and all security devices.

• Remind all family members to close doors behind them as they exit.

• Designate family members responsible for waking children or older adults.

• Agree on a meeting place outside your home.

• Stress the importance of calling 911 once in a safe location.


Make household drills realistic. Since most fires occur overnight, start drills in sleeping areas and darken your home as if it is smoke-filled.

• Begin the drill with the sound of the smoke alarm. • Practice escaping through smoke by crawling low on hands and knees. • Follow your escape plan from the beginning, all the way through to your assigned meeting place outside your home.