6. Fire Escape Planning and Practice Prepare Residents to Quickly and Safely Exit During Home Fires

Key Messages

  • Fire escape planning can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire. Everyone in a household must know what to do and where to go in case of a fire.
  • Each household should develop a fire escape plan; however, only one in four Americans surveyed by the National Fire Protection Association have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
    • The plan should describe at least two different ways each household member can escape from every room.
    • The plan should designate an outside meeting place for household members to meet after they escape.
    • The plan should include arrangements for household members with disabilities, infants and young children, and older adults who cannot escape on their own. The plan should identify a household member to help each of these individuals in the event of an emergency.
  • Escape routes designated in the plan should be kept clear and doors and windows should open easily. Security bars on windows and doors should have emergency release devices to allow them to be opened immediately.
  • Practice drills to practice the escape plan should be held every six months and include all household members.
    • Family members should be taught to never go back into a burning building to rescue people, pets or belongings once they have escaped.