Create a Home Emergency Exit Plan

Take time now to create an emergency evacuation plan to employ in the event of a fire, disaster or other emergency. Make sure each family member understands the plan and be sure to practice the plan often.

  1. Draw a floor plan of your residence. Mark two escape routes from each room, in case of flooding. If your home has more than one story, make sure there is a way to safely exit the upper floors. Place a copy in each room in an obvious location - near the door, on a bulletin board, etc. - and tell each family member about the escape route plan.
  2. Practice your escape plan every month. Practice using both exits. Make sure windows and doors aren't stuck and that screens can be removed. Also, practice exiting with your eyes closed or in the dark (it may be hard to see in an emergency, especially at night).
  3. Designate a place for family to meet outside the neighborhood. Make sure all family members know the address and phone number.
  4. Know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children's school or day-care center, as well as other places where your family spends time.
  5. Also, meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan. Learn what neighbors or relatives may require extra assistance.

Kids and Emergency Exit Plans

Get kids involved in the planning - after all, they'll need to learn how to exit, too!

  1. Have your kids choose the place where you’ll all meet in case you need to leave the house immediately. Make the deal with your kids that they will stay in that spot until they are told by firefighters or police that it is OK to move.

    WHN TIP: Your Meeting Place

    Make sure your meeting place is away from the road and driveway - first responder vehicles will drive on these.

  2. You’ve done the family escape plan – place a copy in each family member’s bedroom (and guest bedrooms!). Have your kids color in their escape routes (remember they have to have two exits to color in).
  3. Have your kids choose where they’d like to place the escape plan in their room (you need to make it’s easily accessible.).
  4. Practice your escape plan every month and practice using two exits. Make sure windows and doors are easy to open and that screens can be removed.

    WHN TIP: Practice!

    Practice at night to see how long family members take to wake up. You should also practice blindfolded. Why? This mimics the darkness of smoke. Smoke makes it very difficult to see anything as you try to get out.
    Be sure to see our video that covers

  5. In all of this – don’t forget to practice yourself! Have your kids time you – or have a neighbor time your whole family. Then – return the favor and time your neighbor.

Updated: 5/2009