During a fire there is no time to stop and think about an escape route - every second is important! Being prepared before a fire occurs can save your life!
So, make an escape plan and practice it with your family today. There are four simple steps when making an escape plan:
Step 1: Install working smoke alarms
Smoke alarms save lives
Install a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. For maximum protection install smoke alarms in every bedroom, especially if you sleep with your bedroom door closed. Test your smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are functioning properly.
Step 2: Draw a floor plan of your home
Make sure you have a safe way to reach the ground
Make an outline of each floor of your home and label each room. Identify at least two exits from each room. Windows can serve as the second emergency exit. If a window is considered an exit, make sure all family members can open the locks and windows easily for a quick escape. Security bars on windows and doors must have a quick-release mechanism to make escape possible.
Step 3: Choose a family meeting place
The meeting place should be a safe distance away from the house. All family members should be taught to report to the meeting place after escaping a fire. One person should go to a neighbour's house or the nearest phone in a safe location to contact 9-1-1 or their local emergency number. Know the emergency telephone number for your area.
Step 4: Schedule a home fire drill
Practice getting out of the house through the various exits by holding fire drills. Practice your escape plan by having a fire drill at least twice each year.
Touch test the doors before opening
Get out quickly and safely. When the smoke alarm sounds, immediately start your escape. Do not try to gather possessions or pets.
Check the door. Stay low behind the door, reach up and feel the door and the door handle for heat.
If the door feels cool, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly. If it is safe, leave the building and go directly to your meeting place. If you encounter smoke, crawl low under the smoke. Cleaner air will be near the floor. Once you are out of the building, stay out.
There is nothing more important in your house than you and your family. Go to the meeting place to make sure everyone is safe. Phone 9-1-1 or your local emergency number from a neighbour's house.
If the door feels warm, or you see smoke or flames on the other side of the door, shut the door, and use your second escape route. If you must escape from an upper story window of a multi-level home, make sure you have a safe way to reach the ground, such as a fire escape ladder.
If you are trapped, seal the openings around the door and vents with wet bedding or towels. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number and notify the fire department of your location. If it is safe to open a window and there is no smoke, open it to signal and yell for help.
Plan and practice your fire escape drill.
There are some special situations to consider when developing and practicing your home fire escape plan:
An older adult with limited or restricted mobility should sleep on the ground floor. A special plan should be made to provide assistance to anyone in your house who may have limited or restricted mobility.
Infants and young children will need assistance when escaping from the home. They should be involved with creating and practicing the family home fire escape plan.
People with Physical Disabilities
Anyone with physical disabilities should have their bedroom on the ground floor. A special plan should be developed to provide assistance to them. If a family member has a hearing impairment, special smoke alarms are available.
Look for exit signs. Knowing your escape routes is important - even when shopping, visiting the library, or spending time inside public buildings. If you hear a fire alarm in a public building, follow any instructions given over the public address system. In a hotel, take your room key with you as you may encounter smoke and need to re-enter your room for safety.