SERVICES > Fire Department > Fire Prevention > Fire Drills
Home Fire Escape Plans and Smoke Alarms
Did you know that seven out of ten fires in Canada occur in the home? Protect your home and keep your loved ones safe from fire by planning your escape.
Two important steps are:
1. involving your family in preparing an escape plan, practicing it; and
2. installing and maintaining smoke alarms to provide early warning of fire.
Plan to escape
Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room. Plan a main escape route and an alternate escape route from each room, especially bedrooms. Should a fire strike your home, a planned step-by-step escape route can reduce panic and confusion. Most of all it could save your life and the lives of your family.
Practice your plan
Conduct a fire drill at least once every six months. Sound the alarm and get everyone to participate. In a real fire, you must be prepared to move quickly and carefully without confusion. Don't rush through the drill. Make sure everyone knows exactly what to do. After the drill, discuss what took place and how to improve on performance.
Start from bedrooms
4The best place to start your fire drill is from the bedrooms. The majority of fatal home fires occur at night, while people are asleep. In the bedroom, close the door and wait to hear the fire alarm.
Prepare your drill
Make your fire drill as realistic as possible. Practice both escape routes. Vary the drill by calling out different fire sources. For example, one drill might place a fire in the attic while another might place it in the kitchen. Ensure that everyone understands how escape routes are altered by different fire locations. Pretend that there are no lights, and that your escape routes are filling with smoke.
Crawl Low Under Smoke
Stay close to the floor. Heat and smoke rise so the air by the floor is the coolest and clearest. If you encounter smoke or flames on your way out, use your other escape route instead. If you must escape through an area filled with smoke, crawl under it. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl quickly to the exit.
Test Every Door
Before opening any door, make sure there's no fire on the other side. Reach up with the back of your hand to touch the door, the door handle, and the space between the door and frame. If any of these feel hot, use your alternate exit. If everything feels cool, brace your shoulder against the door and open it carefully. Be ready to slam it shut if heat or smoke rush in. As you leave, close all doors behind you. Doors slow down the spread of fire and smoke!
If you are trapped
Close doors between you and the fire. Stuff blankets or towels around the cracks in the doors and cover vents to reduce the amount of smoke that can get into the room. Wait at the window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a bright coloured sheet or cloth. If there is a phone in the room, call the Fire Department, and tell them exactly where you are.
In an apartment
It is important that everyone be able to unlock all locks quickly. Use stairways to leave the building. During a fire, do not use an elevator. The heat may activate call buttons and carry you to the fire floor. The elevator may also lose power.
In a two-story house
Make sure everyone can unlock all locks and open all windows and doors quickly. Know how to escape safely from the second floor. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.
Get out fast
Make sure your family knows that if they hear a smoke alarm or someone yelling fire, they must leave immediately. DO NOT try to take possessions or pets. After you are out, call the Fire Department using a neighbour's phone.
Choose a meeting place
Agree on a meeting place outside your home. The best choice is at the front, where the Fire Department will arrive. Everyone should go to the meeting place first. All family members should know how to call the Fire Department from a neighbour's home.
Don't go back, no matter what
Once out of the house and at the meeting place, no one re-enters the burning house. Fire fighters are equipped and trained to handle rescue operations and they will let you know when it is safe to go back into the house.
Install smoke alarms
Installing smoke alarms in your home will provide valuable time to allow you and your family to get out if fire strikes. This early warning is critical because the majority of fatal home fires occur at night while people are asleep. Place smoke alarms at the top of stairways leading to bedrooms and at the top of stairs leading from the basement. Every home must have at least one smoke alarm for each floor where there are sleeping areas and ideally one should be installed in each bedroom. Follow the installation instructions carefully and test your detectors every week following the manufacturer's directions. Smoke detectors are simple to install and save lives.
Contact the Weyburn Fire Department about a free home inspection.