When fire triggers a smoke alarm, you may only have one or two minutes to escape. Your ability to get everyone out safely depends on what preparations you’ve made. That’s why every family disaster plan should include instructions for what to do in case of a house fire. Here’s how to make a fire escape plan that could one day save your life.

Make Your Home Safer in a Fire

  • Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Sleep with your bedroom door closed. If there is a fire, this will slow the spread of heat, smoke and
  • Keep windows and doors unblocked and make sure they open easily. If you have security bars, look for emergency release devices that can be opened from the inside.
  • Consider keeping collapsible escape ladders near second-story windows.
  • Have everyone memorize the phone number of the local fire department.
  • Look at your house from the street during the day and at night to make sure the address is clearly visible so emergency personnel can locate your home. If not, install larger house numbers, shine a light on the numbers or paint them on the curb.

Plan What to Do in a Fire

  • Walk through the house and identify all possible escape routes. Each room should have at least two exits, which can include windows and doors, in case fire blocks one of them.
  • If young children, older adults or people with mobility issues live in your house, delegate someone to assist them during an evacuation. Assign a backup person as well in case the selected helper isn’t home during the emergency.
  • Designate a safe meeting place outside the house.

Practice Your Fire Escape Plan

  • Hold fire drills twice a year. Schedule some of these at night, being sure to tell family members about the plan before everyone goes to sleep. Press the “test” button on the smoke detector to simulate an alarm and make sure everyone awakens to the sound.
  • Practice using the back of your hand to test doors for heat, and close doors behind you as you exit the house. Have everyone stay as low to the floor as possible during each fire drill to emulate avoiding toxic smoke.
  • Practice sealing yourself in for safety in case fire and smoke prevent you from This involves closing all doors to the room you’re in, sealing door cracks with wet towels or duct tape, covering air vents, and opening windows to let fresh air in. Pretend to call the fire department and wave a flashlight or cloth out the window to make yourself visible to emergency personnel.

Get more help making a fire escape plan from the National Fire Protection Association. Then, if a fire ever damages your home, contact DKI Services. Our fire damage restoration services will help get your property back to normal.