The Home Safety Council recommends the following guidelines for developing and practicing a home fire escape plan.
• Sketch out a floor plan of your home, showing all rooms, windows, interior and exterior doors, stairways, fire escapes and smoke alarms. Make sure everyone in your home is familiar with the layout.
• Choose a place outside where your family will meet and wait for the fire department. Mark this place on your fire escape plan.
• Walk through your home to plan your escape. Find two ways out of every room—the door and maybe the window. Mark them clearly on the plan.
• Keep escape paths clear and find and fix anything in your home that could slow a quick escape, such as windows that are stuck or heavy furniture blocking an exit.
• You might need a fire escape ladder to get out of upstairs windows. If so, make them part of your fire drills. Practice with them from a ground-floor window to prevent injury.
• Hold fire drills to make sure everyone can wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm. Young children might sleep through the sound.
• Make sure windows and doors open easily. Security bars on doors and windows should have a "quick-release" latch.
• Practice, practice, practice. Every second counts during a real fire.
SOURCE: HOME SAFETY COUNCIL