Preparing Your Family For the Possibility of a Home Fire

In the event of an emergency, providing your family with safe escape routes and instructions can be a lifesaver.

You won’t have much time to respond if a fire breaks out in your home. In less than two minutes, a kid or adult can be overcome by smoke inhalation. Make a fire evacuation plan with your family so that everyone gets out of the house swiftly and safely.

Start By Drawing the Plans

The first step is simply to locate two ways out of every room in your house, including the basement. Make sure everyone in your home knows where they are — especially younger kids, who may not be able to read or write.

Next, make a map of the two escape routes and post it near every entrance door. The map should include:

  • A drawing of your home and its basic floor plan
  • The smoke alarm locations and how to access them
  • Two exits from each room in your house (including the basement)
  • Two ways out of every room

Make sure you assign someone to lead each escape: a family member or adult who can direct the others to safety.

Teach Your Family Members Safety Techniques

You can do several things to prepare your kids for an emergency evacuation.

  • Talk about fire safety and escape plans
  • Explain how to get out of the house
  • Make sure everyone in the house knows how to call 911 for help

If you’re getting a home fire alarm installed, select a photoelectric smoke alarm — the best type of smoke detector. When the smoke alarm goes off, the test button will turn the alarm off until needed.

Designate a Meeting Place

Choose a safe spot on your property or nearby where you and your children can meet after you’ve left your home. This could be a neighbor’s home, a fire station, or a nearby playground. Your meeting place should be outside and away from the home and other hazards like trees, poles, or fences. Please make sure everyone in your family knows where to meet up if they get separated.

Conduct Regular Drills

Performing fire safety drills regularly can help your family react quickly and stay calm when an emergency arises. Make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency, so they can make an informed decision on their own if they can’t get your attention. Here are some tips to make the drills effective.

  • Each family member should know two ways to get out of their bedrooms.
  • When the alarm goes off, the kids should lead the way to the meeting location and go straight there.
  • Create a signal to help you find your kids if they get separated from the family — a whistle or something like an object tied to their clothing.


There’s no doubt that the dangers of home fires are real — and potentially devastating. The best way to protect your family is to install a fire detection and extinguishing system. If a fire should strike while your family is home, ensure that you have a fire escape plan in place. Remember to designate someone to lead an evacuation, keep your escape plan posted where all members of your family can see it, and practice a fire drill with your family at least once a month.

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