When a fire occurs, there is no time to waste. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. That is why it is important to sit down with your family and make an escape plan to get out of your home quickly in a fire emergency. Practice E.D.I.T.H. - Exit Drills in the Home — with your family.
Creating Your Home Fire Escape Plan
- Draw your home floor plan using a home escape plan template.
- Label all the rooms and identify the doors and windows.
- Plan 2 escape routes from every room.
- Provide alternatives for anyone with a disability.
- Agree on a meeting place where everyone will gather after you have escaped.
- Considering buying an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL)-approved collapsible ladder to escape from upper-story windows and an approved window well escape ladder from a basement area.
Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan
- Review your escape plan with everyone that stays in the house, including children.
- Sound the smoke alarm.
- Practice crawling low beneath the smoke.
- Remember to check doors for heat with your hand; if a door is hot, do not open it.
- Close the doors as you leave.
- Practice with a collapsible ladder, if you have one.
- Go directly to your meeting place; do not stop to find your pets or valuables.
- Remember to GET OUT FIRST, then call 9-1-1 for help.
- Practice your plan at least twice a year.
If You Live in an Apartment Building
- Learn and practice your building’s evacuation plan.
- Know primary and secondary exits.
- If you hear the fire alarm, leave immediately.
- Use the stairs.
- NEVER use elevators during a fire.
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll until the flames are extinguished.
- Replace smoke alarms older than 10 years.
- Change the batteries in the smoke alarms every 6 months (when you change your clocks).
- NOTE: As of January 1, 2023, the Illinois’ Smoke Detector Act requires single and multi-family homes to install new smoke detectors with 10-year sealed batteries.
- Test alarms monthly by pushing the “test” button for 3-5 seconds.