How to Hold a Home Fire Drill

How to Hold a Home Fire Drill
  • (view) Type: Fire Safety
  • Opening Intro -

    This writer was a teenager when his home caught fire, just one week before Christmas on a chilly, Saturday evening.

    Thankfully, no one was injured, but our home was heavily damaged and it took six months before the repairs were finished, and the home ready for occupancy.


Make an emergency plan for you family.

Prior to the fire, we had never conducted a fire drill in our three-story clapboard home, but that changed once we were settled back in. Everyone knew their best escape route with an emergency ladder placed at the ready on third floor.

If your family does not have a fire emergency plan in place, the following steps can help you hold a home fire drill that works best for you and your household.

1. Get the team together.

Bring everyone that lives in your home together for an official meeting. Explain to your family what you want to do and that is to create a safe and effective way to evacuate the home in an emergency. Enlist everyone’s input and make it known that children from the oldest to the youngest will have a part in the plan.

2. Make a floor plan.

Everyone knows what your home looks like, but writing up a floor plan will show where they sleep, eat and spend their time. Explain to each child how they can leave their bedroom if the hallway is obstructed. That should include a window exit.

3. Show and tell.

The youngest children will need help getting out of the house, therefore assign an older brother or sister with the responsibility to help the child leave the home if a parent is not nearby. Children should be shown how to open a window, pull up a screen, how to attach a ladder — if needed, and where to assemble outside to meet up with others. For example, “we’ll meet by the old oak tree at the foot of the driveway.” Go to the tree with your children and place your hand on it.

4. Assemble related equipment.

Each bedroom may need a folding ladder to help your family leave. This is especially important if bedrooms are located above a ground floor. A step stool, a ladder, stickers on windows for fire personnel to find children and working flashlights are important. Have children practice turning a flashlight on and off. Explain that they can call for help too in an emergency.

5. Check your detectors.

Every home should have working fire detectors strategically placed throughout the house. Test each detector to ensure that it is operational. Install a carbon monoxide detector as well. Explain to your children that if they wake up during the night and hear that an alarm has been activated, that they should be prepared to leave the home.

6. Hold multiple drills.

Your first drill should be during the day when everyone expects it to take place. That way, you will be able to observe each family member in action. Observe if your children automatically leave the house or are distracted and run into their bedroom to get a favorite toy or to look for a family pet. Pets should be assigned to one family member to bring out of the house. Hold drills at night too and choose a time when your family least expects one. Blow a whistle to signal the start of the drill, timing everyone’s response. Address problems and work to have everyone out of the house within 5 minutes. Pretend making a call to 9-1-1 to state your emergency.

7. Review and assess.

Once multiple drills have been conducted and you are satisfied with everyone’s response, then you can nail down your final plan. Get everyone’s input and hone your drill until it shines and everyone knows what they need to do to leave you home safely and quickly.

Emergency Considerations

There may be some variations on your drill, such as what happens when an escape route is blocked or if weather conditions make an escape hazardous. With the latter, children may need to quickly put on shoes, instead of slippers, provided that the proper footwear is nearby. You have much to think of when assembling a fire drill, with your family’s safety your top concern.

See AlsoSparky: Home Fire Safety Checklist

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Last update on 2020-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



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Categories: Home Safety

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".