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Regular practice with a proper escape plan is the best way to help prevent panic in the event an actual emergency occurs. If you panic, chances are you could make mistakes that can cause harm to yourself and others. Be sure that everyone knows exactly what to do.

Using this illustration as a guideline, create a floor plan of every room in your home and make your own escape plan


  • Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home and test them regularly.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible escape exits from each room.
  • Where possible, plan a main exit route and an alternative exit route from each room.
  • Make sure that everyone understands that if they hear the smoke detector, or hear someone shouting "Fire", they should immediately evacuate the home. They should not try to gather any personal items or pets before they leave.
  • Decide on a meeting place outside the house. Choose something like a tree, neighbor's yard, or some type of landmark that is far enough away from the house and not in the path of any emergency vehicles arriving.
  • Someone should be sent to a phone to dial 9-1-1. Do not attempt to call from within the burning building if the fire load is anywhere close, or if there is even a small amount of smoke where the telephone or you are located.
  • Meet the police or firefighters when they arrive and alert them if there is anyone still in the house, or to let them know that everyone is outside safe and accounted for. At that time you can alert the emergency services if there are any pets still in the house.
  • Make sure that everyone in your family knows not to re-enter a burning building Firefighters are properly equipped and trained to perform rescue operations, you are not.


  • Before opening any door on the way out, feel it. If the door is hot, do not open it. Use an alternative escape route. If the windows in your room are upper story rooms, open the window and shout for help.
  • A properly installed and maintained smoke detector should allow you ample time to safely leave your home.
  • In a smoke filled area, the coolest air available is down low. Practice your escape plan by crawling on your hands and knees.
  • Most victims are found at the enterance to doors or directly below windows. Just because you reach the exit doors and windows does not mean you should stand up straight and you are safe to start to breath normally. If you are able, stay as low as possible, take enough of a breath to allow you to get throught he opening. The best way to plan for an escape is to have a towel or rag within contact and a bottle of water. Wet the towel, and hold it in front of your mouth and nose as you take breaths.
  • If you live in an apartment building, develop your escape plan taking into account fire escape procedures provided by the building management.
  • If there is someone in your home that is unable to evacuate due to illness or handicaps, have a designated person assigned to assist them.
  • Make sure your babysitter understands your fire escape plan.