Escape Planning

Escape Planning

Your ability to get out during a fire depends on planning, practice and advance warning from smoke detectors!


  • Be sure to include all members of your family in every step of your planning!
  • Draw a home escape plan showing 2 ways out of every room
  • Teach children to escape themselves in case you cannot help them
  • Familiarize all family members with the sound of a smoke detector
  • Establish a meeting place outside your home
  • If you live in a home with 2 or more stories, purchase escape ladders for the upper rooms and ensure everyone knows how to use them
  • Make sure your house number is visible and legible from the street
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!

If a fire breaks out in your home, follow these tips to get out safely:
  • If there is smoke, stay low!  Heat and smoke rises.
  • Check closed interior doors with the back of your hand.  If it is warm, use an alternate exit.
  • Get out and stay out!
  • Perform a head count at your family's meeting place.  If someone is missing, tell the firefighters.
If you're trapped in a room:
  • Seal yourself in!
  • Use duct tape, blankets, rugs, pillows or towels to seal the doorways and vents.
  • Remain near an open window and signal to the firefighters.


At age 65, people are twice as likely to be killed or injured in fires compared to the population at large.
  • If you live in a house, consider sleeping on the ground level in a multi-story home
  • Have a telephone installed where you sleep
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing smoke alarms that use flashing lights or vibration to alert you
  • Make sure you are able to open all doors and windows in your home


  • Be aware that at times, your best choice in a tall building fire is to stay put and wait for the firefighters to help you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the building's evacuation plan
  • Never use the elevator in the event of a fire
  • If you're unable to exit your room due to smoke or fire in the hallway, get into a room with a window and call 9-1-1 to report your exact location.  Close all doors between you and the fire and use duct tape or towels to seal the doorways and vents.
  • Stay by a window and signal the firefighters when they arrive


Sometimes objects that prevent a hazard, pose another one.
  • Use emergency release devices inside all barred doors and windows
  • Emergency release devices for security bars enable you to push the bars open from the inside, but they don't affect the security provided outside
  • These devices can involve pulling a lever, pushing a button, stepping on a pedal or kicking in a lever on the floor
  • Make sure everyone in the household knows how to operate the release devices.