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How to Plan and Hold Home Fire Drills

Your kids do fire drills at school. Your boss schedules fire drills at work. Now it’s time to start doing fire drills at home, just in time for Home Fire Drill Day on October 13.

How to Plan Home Fire Drills

Everyone in your family should participate in planning how to escape during a fire. Here are the steps to planning a home fire drill:

  • Plan escape routes: Every room should have at least two exits, including exterior windows and doors and doors that lead to other rooms or hallways. Draw a diagram with your children and label each escape route.
  • Assign everyone a role: Who’s in charge of helping the children? Who will grab the dog? Who is responsible for calling 911 once everyone gets outside? If any young children, older adults, or people with disabilities live with you, plan for their special needs.
  • Pick a meeting place: Decide where everyone will meet after evacuating from the house. It might be a nearby lamppost or mailbox—any landmark will do, as long as it’s a safe distance and easily accessible.
  • Prepare for a possible fire: Keep the floors, hallways, and stairs free of clutter to clear the way during an evacuation. Store a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, the most likely place for house fires to ignite, and test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they’re working.
  • Share your plan: Tell babysitters, houseguests, and anyone attending sleepovers about your fire escape plan.

How to Hold Home Fire Drills

Once the plan is complete, it’s time to put your home fire drill into action. It’s best to practice at least twice a year to keep the exercise fresh in everyone’s minds. Here’s what to do:

  • Set the scene: Instruct your kids to head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin. Tell them to listen for the sound of the smoke alarm, which you can trigger by pressing the test button when you’re ready. Once you do, start the timer—the fire drill has officially begun!
  • Practice realistic evacuation techniques: In a real fire, you can’t always simply run out of the house. Teach your kids about crawling below the smoke, testing closed doors with the back of their hand, and using the window as a backup escape route if necessary. Practice different scenarios each time you hold a home fire drill.
  • Go to the meeting place: Once everyone is present and accounted for, stop the timer. The goal is to complete the drill in less than two minutes. Discuss that, if this were a real fire, now would be the time to call 911.

Fire drills give you peace of mind that your family members know what to do if a blaze ever breaks out. Ensuring your family’s safety in a fire is of the utmost importance. Once you’re sure everyone is okay, you can then call DKI Services and begin the fire restoration process.