Be Ready: Have an Escape Plan

Every Second Counts

In the event of fire, time is the biggest enemy. Every second counts! In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Have escape plans to get out of your home quickly.

Practice E.D.I.T.H. - Exit Drills in the Home - with your family.

Exit Drills in the Home Diagram

Creating Your Home Fire Escape Plan

  • Draw your home floor plan using an Escape Plan Template (PDF)
  • Label all the rooms and identify the doors and windows
  • Plan 2 escape routes from every room
  • Provide alternatives for anyone with a disability
  • Agree on a meeting place where everyone will gather after you have escaped
  • Considering buying an Underwriter's Laboratory (UL)-approved collapsible ladder to escape from upper story windows

Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan

  • Review your escape plan with everyone that stays in the house, including children.
  • Sound the smoke alarm
  • Practice crawling low beneath the smoke
  • Remember to check doors for heat with your hand; if a door is hot, do not open it.
  • Close the doors as you leave
  • Practice with a collapsible ladder, if you have one
  • Go directly to your meeting place; do not stop to find your pets or valuables
  • Remember to get out first, then call 911 for help. Once you're out, stay out!
  • Practice your plan at least twice a year

If You Live in an Apartment Building

  • Learn and practice your building's evacuation plan
  • Know primary and secondary exits
  • If you hear the fire alarm, leave immediately
  • Use the stairs, never use elevators during a fire

Additional Tips

  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll until the flames are extinguished.
  • Replace smoke alarms older than 10 years.
  • Change the batteries in the smoke alarms every 6 months. A good way to remember to do this is to do it when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings.
  • Test alarms monthly by pushing the "test" button for 3 to 5 seconds.