3 Tips for Creating a Home Emergency Exit Plan

Take time now to create an emergency evacuation plan to employ in the event of a fire, disaster or other emergency. Make sure each family member understands the plan and be sure to practice the plan often.

How to Make Your Exit Plan

  • Draw a floor plan of your residence, including all levels.
  • Mark two escape routes from each room, in case of flooding, fire or obstruction.

WHN TIP – Color the Routes: Have kids? Let them color in both escape routes from their bedrooms.

  • If your home has more than one story, make sure there is a way to safely exit the upper floors.
  • Designate a place for the family to meet outside the house — away from the road and driveway. (First-responder vehicles will drive on these.) Make sure all family members know the address and phone number.
  • Review the plan with all family members.
  • Place a copy in each room in an obvious location – near the door, on a bulletin board, etc. Make sure it’s accessible for kids or the elderly.

WHN TIP – Add a Light! Keep a small flashlight with your plan.

How to Practice Your Exit Plan

  • Practice your escape plan every month. Use a stopwatch to time your family.
  • Practice using both exits. Make sure windows and doors aren’t stuck and that screens can be removed.
  • Practice exiting with your eyes closed, blindfolded or in the dark. (It may be hard to see in an emergency, especially at night).

WHN TIP – Involve the Kids! Have your kids choose the place where you’ll all meet in case you need to leave the house immediately. Make the deal with your kids that they will stay in that spot until they are told by firefighters or police that it is OK to move.

What Else to Do

  • Know the emergency response plan for your workplace, your children’s school or day-care center, as well as other places where your family spends time.
  • Meet with neighbors either informally or through a neighborhood group to create a neighborhood preparedness plan.
  • Learn which neighbors or relatives may require extra assistance.