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Making a Fire Escape Plan

Your house is on fire – what do you do?

Most people panic and create even more chaos. But that’s no way to handle a serious situation – especially when lives are at stake.

To make the most of precious time when disaster strikes, Allied Universal recommends that all households have a fire escape plan in place. It will only take a few minutes to create – but it could be your lifeline when survival is a matter of seconds.

To learn more about making a fire escape plan, including how to download a FREE fire escape plan grid, visit

In the meantime, consider these safety tips from, which will help you and your loved ones put an escape plan in place.

Practice Escaping from Every Room in the Home
Practice escape plans every month. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows. Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened. Also, practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.

Security Bars Require Special Precautions
Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they can also trap you in a deadly fire! Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.

Immediately Leave the Home
When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases that can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.

Never Open Doors that Are Hot to the Touch
When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.

Designate a Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance
Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor’s home to phone the fire department.

Once Out, Stay Out

Remember to escape first and then notify the fire department using the 911 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.

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2 Responses to “Making a Fire Escape Plan”

  1. Mary Says:

    Thoughtful post and well presented. Please write more on this.

  2. rjwestmore Says:

    Thank you for your post. We will definitely be sharing more about this subject in the weeks ahead.