Public Education

Home Escape Plans

Many people make poor decisions when fire breaks out. They may be affected by smoke, disoriented by being awakened abruptly, and frightened. But, more often, poor decisions occur because people have not planned or practised what to do in a home fire. If you and your family have planned your escape and practised the plan, you will all be better prepared to make wise choices that lead to a safe and successful escape.


  1. Draw a floor plan of your home.
  2. Include all possible emergency exits -
    • Draw in all the doors, windows and stairs. This will show you and your family all possible escape routes at a glance. Include any features, such as the roof of a garage or porch, that would help in your escape.
  3. Mark two ways out of every room -
    • The main exit from each room will be the door. However, if the door is blocked by smoke or fire, you must have an alternate escape route, which could be a window. Make sure that all windows can open easily and that everyone knows how to escape through them safely. If windows or doors have security bars, equip them with quick-release devices.
  4. Does anyone need help to escape? -
    • Decide in advance who will assist the very young, elderly or physically challenged members of your household. A few minutes of planning will save valuable seconds in a real emergency.
  5. Choose a meeting place outside -
    • Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home that everyone will remember. A tree, street light or a neighbour’s home are all good choices. In case of fire, everyone will go directly to this meeting place so they can be accounted for.
  6. Call the fire department from a neighbour’s home -
    • Once at the meeting place, call the fire department from a neighbour’s phone. Do not try to re-enter your home for any reason.
  7. Practice your escape -
    • Review the plan with everyone in your household. Walk through the escape routes for each room with the entire family. Use this walk-through exercise to check your escape routes, making sure all exits are practical and easy to use. Then hold a fire drill at least twice a year. In a real fire, you must react without hesitation as your escape routes may be quickly blocked by smoke or flames.


  1. If you live in a highrise building -
    • Plan ahead - review your building’s emergency procedures to learn about the fire alarm and voice communication systems. If the alarm sounds and there is no visible smoke or flame in the hall, leave your apartment quickly, closing the door behind you. Use the stairs - never the elevator - to exit the building. If your exit is blocked by smoke or fire, stay in your apartment and seal all vents and cracks around the door with duct tape or wet sheets or towels. Telephone the fire department and let them know where you are. If smoke is entering your apartment, stay low to the ground. If you have a balcony, signal your location by waving light-coloured fabric and wait on the balcony to be rescued.

Downloadable Documents