Exit Drills In The Home

Do you know what to do if there is a fire in your home?

You can survive a fire in your home if you plan and practice your escape.

Plan Your Escape

  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Show two ways out of each room. Discuss escape routes with everyone in your home.
  • Agree on a meeting place outside where everyone will gather once you have escaped.

Be Prepared

  • Teach every member of your household the sound of your smoke detector.
  • Have everyone in your home memorize the fire department emergency telephone number. You should call from a neighbor's phone or a cell phone once you have escaped.
  • Teach everyone in your household how to unlock and open all windows and doors.
  • If your windows have security bars, equip them with quick-release devices.
  • Keep stairways and exits clear and free from clutter.

Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home -- and near or inside all bedrooms. In new construction, NFPA's code requires a smoke alarm in every bedroom and that each alarm be wired together so that if one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month.
  • Replace alarm batteries at least once a year.
  • Replace any alarm that is more than 10 years old.


  • Practice! Hold home fire drills at least twice a year.
  • Ensure that smoke alarms alert everyone sleeping in your home.
  • Make drills realistic by pretending some escape paths are blocked by smoke or fire.

If You Live in an Apartment Building

  • Learn and practice your building's evacuation plan.
  • Leave immediately if you hear a smoke alarm.
  • Know the location of all building exits and fire alarms.
  • Do not go back inside once you have escaped a fire.
  • Use the stairs -- never use elevators during a fire.
  • Report any locked or blocked exits to your building's management.

Escape Tips

  • Test the doorknob and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it is cool, open it slowly. Close it quickly if smoke pours through.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be cleaner.
  • Close doors behind you as you escape to slow the spread of fire and smoke.

Sprinklers Control Fires

  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home. Sprinklers can control or extinquish small fires faster than it takes the fire department to arrive.