Fire Escape Planning

                                       Fire Escape Planning

How long do you have to escape from a fire in your home?  When people are asked this question, the answers will surprise you.  In looking at different polls, approximately fifty eight per cent said two minutes or more while twenty four per cent estimated they had more than 10 minutes to escape a home fire.  The truth is, you may have much less time to escape.

A typical living room fire can threaten the entire house in just few minutes, producing life-threatening condition in upstairs bedrooms less than two minutes after the smoke alarm sounds.  Your family needs to know how to get out at the first sign of a fire.  When your smoke detector sounds what do you do? A fire can quickly fill your home with smoke and poisonous gases, making them dark and dangerous, especially if you do not know what to do. Have a home fire escape plan.  Mark two ways out of every room and include windows on your plan. You can purchase an escape ladder from many hardware stores that allow you to escape through a window.   Every member of your household should be part of the planning. Pick a meeting place outside. Tell everyone to meet there after they’ve escaped. That way you can count heads and tell the fire department if anyone’s trapped inside.

Plans are great, but the only way to know if they work is to practice them. Hold a home fire drill. Getting out of your own home sounds easy, but your home can look very different if it’s full of smoke. Children in particular need to practice what to do. Have someone press the button on the smoke alarm as the signal for the drill to start.

Remember that a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully. Everyone should go to the meeting place. Make time to plan and practice your family’s great escape today!  It is an important part of your safety when a fire starts.

The following checklist will help you make a home fire escape plan.

  • Have working smoke detectors that will wake you when sleeping.
  • Be sure everyone knows two ways out of every bedroom.
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed. This will protect you from smoke traveling through your home.
  • Be sure windows open easily from the inside, allowing for a speedy escape.
  • Designate a meeting place where everyone in your family can meet once outside.
  • Call 9-1-1 from a safe phone once outside.
  • Make certain everyone understands that once out of the building no one is to re-enter without the permission of the fire department.

Be safe both inside and outside your home.


Authored in 2011 by

Mike Petullo Former CEM Chairman

CMFPD Administrative Control Board