Home Fire Escape Plan

A family looks at a table-sized layout of their home and plans their Fire Escape Plan.
Does your family know what do to if there was a fire in your home? If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire.

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safety once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning- a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with.

Fire Escape Plan Tips

The Cosumnes Fire Department offers these tips in creating your home escape plan:
  • Children and older adults need help escaping a fire. Plan for this. Know who needs help and pick someone to help them. If anyone in the household has a hearing impairment, purchase special smoke alarms that use strobes and/or vibrations to signal a fire.
  • Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet. Use a portable phone or a neighbor's phone to call 911. Once you get out, stay out. Do not go back inside for any reason!
  • Have smoke alarms on every level of your home. Make sure a smoke alarm is inside or near every bedroom. For the best detection and notification protection, install both ionization and photoelectric-type smoke alarms. Some models provide dual coverage. The type will be printed on the box or package.
  • If you have security bars on doors and window, have a "quick-release" latch. This makes it easy to get outside in an emergency. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to use the latch.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. You might need an escape ladder to get out of upstairs bedrooms windows. If so, they should be part of your fire drill, deployed safely from a ground-floor window for practice.
  • Make a fire escape plan for your family. Sketch out a floor plan of your home, including all rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms. Make sure that every family member is familiar with the layout.
  • Make copies of the escape plan sketches and post them in each room until everyone becomes familiar with them.
  • Make sure windows and doorways open easily. Make sure stair and doorways are never blocked. Look for things that could slow down your escape. Move or fix them.
  • Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year. Practice using different ways out.
  • Test each smoke alarm every month. Push the test button until you hear a loud noise.
  • Young children might sleep through the sound of the smoke alarm. Be prepared for a family member to wake children for fire drill and in a real emergency.

Create your Home Fire Escape Plan