Prepare Your Family For When a Home Fire Strikes

October 29, 2017
house on fire
fire escape plan

Living in Southern California means every year I know there will be a fire somewhere close to my home. These fires are natural disasters, but home fires happen all the time. With Christmas approaching I think of the people with real Christmas trees and the house fires that happen from those. Kitchen fires can happen, electrical fires can happen at anytime. We never know when it will strike so being prepared is the best thing we can do for our family.

With that being said my husband and I decided that we better get a plan put in place and talk to our children about what to do in case there is a fire.

We sat down with our kids and discussed what to do and then we did a walk through in each room to show them ways to escape and then we practiced. We also put smoke detectors in each bedroom. Did you know that there should be a smoke detector in each bedroom?

Some Facts 

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,500 home structure fires per year during 2011-2015, which represents three-quarters of all structure fires.
  • Home fires caused an annual average of
    • 2,510 civilian fire deaths, or 93% of all civilian structure fire deaths,
    • 12,300 civilian fire injuries, or 87% of all civilian structure fire injuries
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Smoking was the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.  Heating equipment was the second most common cause of home fires and fire injuries and the third leading cause of fire deaths.
  • While the number of home fire deaths has been cut roughly in half since 1980, the rate of deaths per 1,000 reported home fires was actually 10% higher than in 1980.  More progress has been made in preventing fires than in preventing death in a reported fire.
These facts were reported from 

The last point of “more progress has been made in preventing fires than in preventing death in a reported fire,” resonated with me. This shows that we are doing better at preventing fires, but when there is one we aren’t improving on getting out of it. This is scary!

think plan act

How to Prepare

  1. Sit down with your family and make a plan. Depending on your home layout you may want to draw a map of different escape routes or do a walk through of them.
  2. Be sure you have enough smoke detectors in your home.
  3. Go to each room and identify two ways to get out.
  4. Choose a meeting place outside where everyone will go to (a neighbors house, a light pole, a tree). Make sure it is a good distance from your home.
  5. Be sure everyone knows their home address.


  1. Push the test buttons on the smoke alarm. 
  2. Get low and go quickly.
  3. Close the doors on your way out. This may slow the spread of smoke and fire.
  4. Go to your designed meeting place.
  5. Discuss how it went and if anything needs to be changed

If There’s a Fire

  1. When the smoke alarm goes off, get outside to your meeting place and call 911.
  2. If you can’t get out your first way, use the second way.
  3. Before opening the door, feel the doorknob and door, if it’s hot don’t open and go out the second way.
  4. If opening a door, do it slowly and be ready to close it if there is heavy smoke or fire.
  5. If you are unable to get out, cover the vents and door cracks with cloth. Signal for help at the window.


I made a reference guide that you can print. Grab that HERE   

fire escape plan

Here are also other resources for you to use:

Home Fire Escape Checklist

Escape Planning Tips

Home Fire Escape Drills

You can also refer to the website National Fire Protection Association for more information. This is where I got my information.

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