The Fire Department station with two trucks.

Home Escape Planning

If a fire occurred in your home tonight, would your family know what to do?

In a fire situation, it is critical that everyone in the household knows what to do and where to go. Develop a home escape plan, indicating two ways out of every room, if possible. Sit down with everyone in your home and discuss how each person will get out of the home in a fire. Consider drawing a floor plan of your home identifying all escape routes from each room. Make sure everyone knows two ways out of every room if possible. If the door of a room is blocked by smoke or fire, discuss an alternate way out such as window or another door. The plan should identify who will assist vulnerable occupants and small children get to safety. Include a meeting place outside the home, where everyone can meet and be accounted for. The meeting place should always be located at the front of your house where arriving fire crews will meet everyone upon their arrival.

  • Test your alarms by pushing the test button monthly
  • Ensure windows open easily
  • Homes today burn faster than homes built 50 years ago
  • You may have less than three minutes to escape fire. A fire can spread fast!
  • Close doors behind you as you leave
  • Get Out and Stay Out! Go to your designated “Meeting Place”. When the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms sound, get out immediately and call 911 from outside using a cell phone or neighbour’s phone. Never go back inside!
  • You need to know how to react in a fire before it happens
  • Remember! Practice makes perfect! Once you have a plan, you need to practice it with everyone so you an address any possible issues before they arise. Can’t crawl on your hands and knees to get under the smoke? Not sure if/how your window opens? Can’t hear the alarm? All these things should be considered before the fire happens!

Apartment and Condominium Buildings

Your fire safety is your responsibility! If you live in an apartment or condominium, your safety also depends on the actions of the building management and other residents. Every fire is potentially dangerous and unpredictable, so do not underestimate the risk to your life. Fire and smoke move very quickly, and the conditions in any part of the building may change in an instant. Smoke can spread throughout a building and enter your suite even when the fire is many floors away. During an emergency, you will not have much time to decide what to do. Make sure you know what to do ahead of time.

Take time to talk to your building superintendent about emergency evacuation procedures specific to your building and needs. If you have special needs and require assistance to evacuate the building during an emergency, this should be discussed with your building superintendent.

If there is a fire in your apartment / condo

  • Tell everyone in your apartment / condo to leave
  • Close all doors behind you
  • Pull the fire alarm on your floor and yell FIRE
  • Leave the building using the closest exit
  • Do not use the elevator
  • If you encounter smoke, use a different exit
  • Call the fire department when you are safe
  • Meet the firefighters at the front entrance and tell them where the fire is located

When you hear the fire alarm

  • Check the door to your apartment/condo. If smoke is entering from around the door, do not open it.  Call 911 and let them know where you are. Seal the door with duct tape and by placing wet towels under the door to stop smoke from coming into your suite. Move to the balcony if you have one. Close the door behind you. If you don’t have a balcony, go to the most smoke-free room. Close the door and seal it with tape and wet towels. Show your rescuers where you are by hanging a sheet out the window or balcony. Keep low to the floor where the air is cleaner. Listen for instructions from authorities.
  • If there is no smoke or fire, brace yourself and open the door a little. If you see smoke or feel heat, close the door and follow the procedures above.
  • If the corridor is clear, take your keys, lock your door and go to the closest stairwell
  • Do not use the elevator
  • If the stairwell is clear of smoke, proceed to your “meeting place”
Develop a home fire escape plan