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Fire Escape Plans

Planning is the key to a fast and safe exit from a fire.  Once your smoke alarm has been activated you may have less than 2 minutes to escape. Do it today, don't wait until a fire occurs.

Start by drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room; especially the sleeping areas. If you live in a two story house, you may want to invest in a fire safety ladder, available at most hardware stores.

Remember to set up a meeting place outside your home for everyone to report to after they have gotten out (a tree, basketball goal, the mailbox, etc.)

Sample Fire Escape Plan

Practice your escape plan! Have a fire drill just like your children do in school. Make it as realistic as possible. 

Pretend the lights are out and the house is filling up with smoke. Remember to stay low and crawl under the smoke, touching the doors with the backs of your hand to check for heat before opening the door. Remember do not open a hot door! Go to another exit instead.

If you live in an apartment, use the stairs when necessary and never use an elevator, as it may get stuck between floors or worse take you to the floor of the fire.

Last, but not least, be prepared. Make sure everyone in your family understands the escape route and knows what to do. Remember, get out first then call 911 at a neighbor's house. Never go back into a burning structure once you have escaped!


The Charlotte Fire Department's Fire Education Division will be glad to help citizens who have questions about escape plans. To speak to a fire professional, call 704-336-3970 during normal business hours.