Injury Research and Policy Fire Escape Plans Research :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Fire Escape Plans

Fires in the home can start in an instant and spread in seconds. Everyone in your family should know the fastest and safest way out of any room in your home. A fire escape plan can help you make sure that your family is prepared in case of a fire.

Step 1: Make a Fire Escape Plan with Your Family

  • Draw a floor plan of each floor of your home. Be sure to include windows and doors. For each room of your home, find two possible ways out and draw them onto your plan.
  • Decide on a meeting place for your family. Where will everyone meet once they are safely out of the house?
  • Young children cannot escape from a fire on their own. Have a plan for getting them out safely. Also consider any family members who might need extra help getting out of the home safely, including older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Step 2: Explain Your Plan

  • Make sure all members of your family know what to do if a fire starts in your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms regularly so that your child is familiar with the sound.
  • Teach your child to crawl on the ground where the air is less smoky.
  • Teach your child to use the back of his hand to check doors for heat before opening. Explain that if the door is hot, he should use a different way out of the room.
  • If your child’s room is not on the ground floor and your child will need to use an escape ladder to get out of the house, show your child where the ladder is kept and practice using it.
  • Teach children never to go back inside once they are safely out of the home.

Step 3: Practice Your Plan

  • Practice your plan as a family at least twice a year, trying different scenarios and ways out of rooms.
  • Try your plan at least once at night, too.

Considerations

  • Can your child open windows and remove screens, if necessary?
  • Can your child unlock doors easily and in the dark?
  • Do you have working smoke alarms on each floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas?
  • Make it a family rule that everyone sleeps with their bedroom door closed. This simple step can give you more time to escape from a fire.
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