Fire Drills at Home & Work

At Work

Each year an average of 7,000 reported fires occur in office buildings. Employees and employers must be prepared. Study the fire escape floor plan posted by your employer, and always participate in drills!

  • Count the doors or workstations between where you work and the nearest exit. You may have to escape in the dark.
  • Learn the locations of at least two exits from all work areas.
  • Know where the nearest fire alarm is and learn how to use it.
  • Post the fire department's emergency number by your phone.
  • If you have a disability that would slow your escape, ask your supervisor to include your needs in evacuation plans.

What to Do in a Workplace Fire

  • Sound the alarm and call the fire department, even if the fire is small.
  • Leave quickly. Close doors as you go to contain the fire and smoke.
  • Escape using the stairs - heat from a fire can cause elevators to malfunction.
  • Follow fire and security personnel instructions. Once outside, move away from the building, out of the firefighters' way.
  • Use a portable fire extinguisher only if you have been trained and authorized to do so.

At Home

Good fire-safe habits are important off the job as well! Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor and a fire escape plan. In a real fire, call the fire department from a neighbor's phone, portable phone, or call box after you've escaped.

Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out (including windows) of every room, and decide on the best escape routes. Pick an outside meeting place in front of your home, and tell everyone to meet there after they've escaped, so you can count heads and tell firefighters if anybody's trapped inside.


Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

  • Hold home fire drills. Appoint someone to be monitor and be sure that everyone participates.
  • Make your exit drill realistic.
  • Pretend that some exits are blocked by smoke or fire and practice using alternative escape routes.

Escape Tips For Any Situation

Test doors before opening them! Kneel or crouch and touch the door, the knob, and the crack between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, use another escape route. If it's completely cool, put your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Be prepared to slam it shut if there's smoke or flame on the other side.

Crawl Low Under Smoke!

Heat rises carrying smoke with it, so air will be cooler and cleaner near the floor during a fire. If you run into smoke, try another escape route. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees and keep your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.

Smoke Alarms!

Smoke alarms can cut your chances of dying in a fire nearly in half. Install one on every level of your home and in or near all sleeping areas. Test all alarms once a month; replace batteries once a year or when the unit "chirps" to warn you of low battery power. Keep smoke alarms clean and replace any alarm that is over 10 years old.