Your home exit plan should include:
  • Two ways out of each room
  • A designated location outside for your meeting place
  • Notes on special responsibilities for helping certain family members get out (the very young and the very old)
It is important to review this plan with your family because the time to plan a safe escape is before a fire occurs. In the event of a fire, everyone must know how to get out quickly and safely! Remember to plan several ways out of your home in case your usual route becomes blocked for some reason. Test the doors and windows you choose for exits for ease of opening by everyone. After you are familiar with your escape routes, try them blindfolded. This will give you an idea of how little visibility there actually is under fire conditions. 

Why? Because house fires are dark, NOT light. Movies and TV shows give the impression that there is plenty of light and that you can stand and maybe cough a little on your way out. That is a deadly fantasy. The reality is that you must never, EVER stand up in a smoke-filled area. Just ONE breath of those swirling, black, superheated gases can cause your lungs to shut down. The way to escape safely is to stay low to the floor, crawling, where the air is cooler, cleaner and the visibility is somewhat better. Stay low and go.

Once you are outside it is important that you have a common meeting place, whether it's a tree, light pole, mailbox or the neighbors house. As long as everyone in the family knows to meet there. If someone does not show up at your meeting place, inform the first arriving fire units so they can go in for a rescue.

Once you are safely out of the house, do not go back in. Not for pets, valuables or anything. Your life is worth much more than any possessions you might have and many pet owners have died going back in to rescue the family pet. Pets are smart animals and will often find their own way out.