Emergency home escape plans
Practising and rehearsing helps ensure a safe escape.
When a sudden emergency happens, you may have little time to gather your household members and safely evacuate your home.
By planning and practising your home escape plan, you can prepare your household to react more quickly and safely if an emergency happens.
Create a floor plan with escape routes
Create up a floor plan of your home that shows:
- All exits, including windows and doors.
- Your escape routes: at least 2 ways to get out of your home as quickly as possible.
Your floor plan should also show where these items are located or stored:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Utility cut-offs and fuse boxes
- Emergency supplies, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers
- 72-hour emergency kit
Once your floor plan is complete:
- Practice walking or crawling along your escape routes with blindfolds on. This practice drill will help you during an emergency if you can't see due to smoke.
- Ensure everyone in your household knows your safe meeting location.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency policies and evacuation plans of common areas outside of your home such as your workplace and your children's schools.
Plans for apartments and high-rise buildings
If you live in an apartment or high-rise building, prepare yourself for an emergency by:
- Knowing where the emergency exit is.
- Knowing where the fire alarm on your floor is located.
- Keeping a plastic pail within reach to store emergency equipment and to fill with water.
- Knowing your building's fire safety plan.
- Having a copy of the building’s emergency procedures to know what to expect from the landlord.
During an emergency:
- Use the stairs to exit the building. Never use the elevators during an emergency.
- Blow a whistle to signal for help.
- Use a flashlight to see where you're going and to signal for help from the window at night.
- Hang a bright-coloured cloth out of a window or a balcony to identify your location.
- Write messages on cloth or on windows with an ink marker.
If there’s heavy smoke in the building during an emergency:
- Wet a towel to place at the base of the door to stop smoke from coming in.
- Use Duct Tape to seal door and vent openings to prevent smoke from entering.
- Use foil wrap to cover vent openings.
- Wet a washcloth to place over your mouth and nose to help you breathe.
- Make a tent by wetting a cotton bed sheet and staying near a window.