Instituting a home fire escape plan is one of the most important actions you can take to protect your own life and the lives of others. The fire department urges you to develop and practice a fire escape plan for your home. Remember, an hour of pre-planning may save years of life. Make regular fire drills a family affair.

Develop a home fire escape plan

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas, in sleeping areas and in each level of your home for maximum protection.Test your alarms monthly and change batteries annually.
  • Install fire extinguishers in high-risk areas of your home, including the kitchen and furnace area, and make sure everyone knows how to use them. Remember, should you feel uncomfortable about using the extinguisher or fighting the fire, leave immediately.
  • A closed door provides some protection against fire and fumes. Keep basement or utility room doors closed at all times and close all doors at bedtime.
  • Check your home for fire hazards and eliminate them as you find them.Your fire department will be glad to advise you on any questions of fire safety for your home.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home, showing all possible exits from each room.Where possible, plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room.
  • If your home has more than one storey, have an emergency escape ladder available on upper floors.Make sure all family members know how to use the ladder.
  • Make certain that everyone understands that if they hear the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, or hear someone shouting ‘Fire or Gas’ they should immediately evacuate and call 911.

Detect a fire?

You should:

  • Raise the alarm. When you detect fire or smoke, shout the warning to other occupants.
  • Don’t wait to get dressed. Shoes and one blanket per person will be enough.
  • Assign someone to call the fire department after everyone is out.
  • Never waste time trying to extinguish anything other than a small fire.


Things to remember

  • A hot door is a warning. Never open a door without first checking it for heat. If it is warm, leave it closed and go to a window. If you cannot escape from the window, wait by the open window or on a balcony for rescue. Place bedding at door cracks to keep smoke out.
  • Heat and deadly gases are the main killers, and even small fires are dangerous. The open staircase may become a chimney, allowing heat or smoke to rise to the highest floor level. If you cannot leave an upper room by a window, close the door and wait by the open window for rescue. If you have a cell phone call 911 and let the fire department know where you are trapped in the building.
  • Tell the firefighters if anyone remains in the building. Leave rescue operations to them.
  • Never go back into a burning building for any reason whatsoever. Many lives are lost through the deadly effects of fumes, even in small fires. Never risk a life in an attempt to save personal possessions.