Exit Drills In The Home

Learn More
Home Escape Plan
Planning for a safe escape

Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.


  • Plan with household, inspect exits, mark two ways out of each room, note smoke alarm locations.
  • Install smoke alarms in sleeping rooms, outside areas, and every home level; interconnected per NFPA 72.
  • Ensure clear escape routes, easy door/window access.
  • Choose an outside meeting place, mark it on the escape plan.
  • Ensure visible street numbers for emergency responders.
  • Memorize fire department’s emergency phone number.
  • Assist infants, elderly, and those with mobility limitations in drills.
  • Ensure windows/doors with security bars have emergency release devices.
  • Share fire escape plan with guests and know plans when staying elsewhere.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, evacuate immediately; high-rise residents may “defend in place.”
  • Once out, stay out; never re-enter a burning building. Inform the fire department about missing persons.


  • Practice fire escape plan twice yearly.
  • Consider mobility limitations in escape arrangements.
  • Familiarize children with drills; warn before night drills.
  • Ensure sound awareness of smoke alarms; assign someone to wake if necessary.
  • Equip second-floor rooms with escape ladders; practice setup.
  • Choose safest escape route; practice crawling under smoke.
  • Close doors to slow fire spread during evacuation.
  • Practice “sealing in for safety” in case of smoke or fire, use duct tape, cover vents, open windows, signal for help.


Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire. That could mean the difference between life and death. So unblock your exits today! Key to your family’s safety is planning and practicing a home fire escape plan twice a year. Start by identifying two escape routes out of each room, if possible, then make sure that each of those escape routes can be used safely by everyone.