Riverdale Fire Department, Inc.
4714 Queensbury Road Riverdale Park Maryland   20737 United States
301.883.7707 [MAIN] 301.856.0948 [FAX]

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4714 Queensbury Road
Riverdale ParkMaryland 20737
United States
301.883.7707 [Main]
301.856.0948 [FAX]


Home Fire Safety General Info Smoke Detectors
Exit Drills In The Home (E.D.I.T.H.) PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2007 20:00



If a fire does break out, you need early warning from smoke detectors, and you need to know how to get out without delay. Practicing drills will help your family get out quickly and safely when there is no time for mistakes.

To be among the survivors, make sure that you have smoke detectors in your home to give you the earliest possible warning of a fire. Next, plan precisely how you and your family will escape if fire does occur. Finally practice your plan by holding fire drills at least every six months.

Also consider home automatic sprinklers for complete fire safety protection.

Make An Escape Plan

When a fire occurs, there's no time for planning. So sit down with your family today, and make a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire. 

  • Know Two Ways Out - Draw a diagram of your home, showing every door and window. Plan two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms. Then walk through each escape route, checking for barriers or obstructions. Make sure everyone can unlock all locks and open all windows and doors quickly, even in the dark. 
  • In an apartment, use the stairways to leave the building. Never use the elevator during a fire; it may stop between floors or even take you to the floor where the fire is burning.
  • In a two story house, if you must escape from a second story window, be sure you have a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.
  • Get Out Fast! In case of a fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to take possessions or pets. Just get out. Call the fire department from a neighbor's phone after you get out. 
  • Don't go back, no matter what. Make sure everyone in your family knows that once they are out, they must not go back for any reason. If people are trapped, fire fighters have the best chance of rescuing them.
  • Call the fire department after you escape. Everyone should gather at one meeting place outside, preferably at the front, where the fire department will arrive. Each family member should know how to call the fire department from a neighbor's home.

Practice Your Plan

At least twice a year, have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone as the monitor, to sound the alarm and make sure everyone participates.

The majority of fatal fires occur when people are sleeping. So start the drill, go to your bedroom, close the door, and wait for the monitor to sound the alarm.

Make your exit drill as realistic as possible. Practice both escape routes. Pretend that certain exits are blocked by fire, that ther are no lights, and that the hallways are filling with smoke.

Remember, a fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully!

Be Ready For Hazards On Your Way Out!

Test every door. Before opening a door, make sure there's no fire on the other side. Kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up high and use the back of your hand to touch the door, the door knob, and the space between the door and the frame. If any of these feels hot, use your second way out.

If everything feels cool, brace your shoulder against the door, and open it carefully. Be ready to slam it shut if heat or smoke rushes in.

As you leave, close all doors behind you. They can slow down the spread of fire and smoke.

Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot, so it will fill the room from the top down. If you encounter smoke using your primary exit, use your alternate route instead, If you must exit through smoke, the best air will be several inches off the floor. Get down on your hands and knees, and crawl quickly to the exit.

IF YOU ARE TRAPPED, close doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around doors and cover vents to keep smoke out. Wait at a window, and signal for help with a flashlight, if you have one, or by waving a sheet or other light-colored cloth. If there's a phone in the room where you're trapped, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.

Remember, in desparate night fire emergency, your family will NOT get a second chance. Everyone must act quickly, correctly, and AUTOMATICALLY.  They will if you give them that chance. It's YOUR duty and responsibility.

Last Updated ( Monday, 14 May 2007 20:43 )