An emergency evacuation plan is critical to the safety of your family in response to a fire or other emergency in which the interior of your home becomes a dangerous environment, requiring a quick and safe escape. Your family must be trained on your evacuation plan, and exercise your plan at least twice each year.

Your Task: Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan

When developing your evacuation plan, consider the following:

  • Identify at least two escape routes from each area of your home. Your primary escape path will be your usual route in and out of your home; secondary escape routes may be back doors or windows. Your designated escape routes should be free of clutter and obstacles.
  • Multi-level homes with only one interior staircase will require alternate escape routes out windows or decks. You may wish to acquire a fire escape ladder for escape from upper floors (throw ladders can be found at various online retailers, including
  • Fire extinguishers should be available within 25 feet of any area in your home. The use of fire extinguishers may gain you valuable extra time to escape or wait for the fire department. Each family member should be familiar with the location and use of your fire extinguishers.
  • Identify an exterior meeting place at least 50 feet from your home.
  • Using a floor plan for your home (draw one if you don’t have one), mark your escape routes and note the location of all emergency supplies, such as fire extinguishers, ladders, disaster kits (food, water, first aid).
  • Note the location of shut-offs for gas, water and electricity. Quickly shutting off your natural gas may significantly reduce the impact of a fire.
  • In the event your entire neighborhood is in danger, such as during a wildfire, identify your escape routes from your neighborhood, as well as a meeting place. (See the January issue on your emergency communications plan for more information).
  • Consider the special needs of young children, the elderly and handicapped members of your household. Don’t forget your pets.