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How to Plan Your Emergency Escape Route

In the event of a home safety emergency, every second counts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you may have less than two minutes to escape after your smoke alarms sound. That's why it's important to be prepared by planning and practicing an escape route with the entire family. By planning, practicing and repeating your emergency escape plan, you can help ensure a safe escape.

Make an Escape Plan:

  • Walk through your home with your family and identify multiple exits out of each room in the house. If windows or doors are blocked, clear them so they can be easily accessed and opened.
  • For two story houses, consider equipping bedrooms with escape ladders to provide additional, safe exits.
  • Dedicate someone to assists small children, infants, elderly, or those with disabilities out of the home.
  • Assign a meeting spot outside that is a safe distance away from your house like the mailbox, tree or neighbor’s house.
  • Ensure your street address is clearly visible on your home or mailbox for first responders.
  • If you have children, teach them how to call 9-1-1 once outside at your meeting spot and help them memorize your home address.


Once you have your escape plan, it’s time to practice. The NFPA recommends executing your escape plan twice a year, as well as a night. It is a good idea to draw a map of your home and plot multiple exits out of every room so everyone knows the plan. To get started, download our home escape plan worksheet.

Family Emergency Escape Planning

If the Smoke Alarms Sound:

  • Follow your family’s escape plan.
  • Get low and crawl under the smoke.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the fire from spreading.
  • Once you and your family are out, stay out! You should never return into a burning building. Please leave this to the fire fighters and inform them if someone is missing.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

Smoke alarms are just as important as your escape route because they alert your family of a potential danger. Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on each level. Be sure to test them monthly and replace the batteries every six months, or for hassle-free protection, upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms to eliminate the need for battery replacements. Remember, you and your family may have less than minutes to escape so plan, practice and repeat your escape route to help protect what matters most.


Source: National Fire Protection Association