A fire at home can be a scary thing but the best way
to be safe is to have an emergency plan in advance.
Work with your mom and dad to plan it out and
practice an emergency escape. Hang the drawing of
the emergency plan on the fridge or somewhere where
everyone can easily see it. Below are some great
ways to start your emergency fire escape plan.
1. More Than One Exit: Go around
to every room in your house to make sure that it has
two or more ways to escape. Exits can be either a
window or a door. This is very important because if
the fire is behind one door, you can always escape
through another door or window. If the room is on an
upper floor, make sure everyone knows where the
emergency ladder is kept. Practice going down the
emergency ladder with your parents.
2. Smoke Detectors and Alarms:
It is very important for every room in the house to
have a smoke alarm for every floor. There should
also be an extra smoke alarm outside bedrooms
because if there is a fire at night, you may not
realize until it is too late. Make a chart to mark
whether mom or dad has tested the alarms each month.
If the alarm makes a small beeping sound, then the
batteries need to be replaced.
3. Gathering Area Outdoors:
When everyone has escaped from the house, they
should meet at a pre-planned area outside. The
neighborís lawn or a lamp post on the street are
good places to meet. Make sure that the meeting area
is a bit far from the house so that everyone can
stay safe. Also remember that the firemen will need
space for their trucks and equipment, so donít block
the area around the house. If you have a cat or dog,
keep them on a leash so that they donít run away
during the commotion.
4. Practice, practice, practice:
The best way to make sure that everyone is safe is
to know every part of the emergency plan really
well. Once every six months, gather the whole family
and practice escaping from an imaginary fire. This
way, if there ever is a fire in real life, it wonít
be so scary since everyone will know exactly what to
do. If there is a real fire, never go inside until
the firemen have said that it is safe.
5. Fires in Apartment Buildings:
Escaping from an apartment building is a little
different from escaping from a house. Most apartment
buildings practice an emergency escape once or twice
a year. When you practice, youíll notice that
everyone has to take the stairs. Never take the
elevators during a fire alarm because they could get
stuck and stop. It is very dangerous to be trapped
in an elevator during a fire. Before leaving the
apartment, take the key and lock the door behind you
if there is nobody else at home. Sometimes if the
fire is too close, it is best to shut the door and
stay inside the apartment. This method is known as a
6. Passive Escape Rules:
- Shut all the doors but do not lock them.
Place wet towels at the bottom of all the doors
and air vents so that smoke does not easily
enter. Try to also seal the cracks around the
top and sides of the door if you can.
- Open windows in your apartment to allow
fresh air in. If you notice that smoke is coming
in through a window, close it immediately!
- Call 911 and tell them that you are trapped
inside. Tell them your buildingís address, your
apartment number and your name.
- Attach a white or pale bed sheet, large
piece of clothing or towel near the windowsill
so that it hangs out of the window. This is a
way to signal to the firemen that you are still
inside. Also keep a flashlight and wave it from
the window if it is night.
- If smoke is entering the apartment, get a
towel or piece of cloth, wet it completely with
cold water and cover your nose and mouth with it
to avoid breathing in smoke. Lie down on the
floor in an area that is far away from the fire
or put your head near an open window to breath
- Donít panic while you wait. The firemen are
trained experts and they will come to rescue