A fire in the home or workplace is one of the most dangerous incidents you can encounter. A small fire can spread very quickly, filling structure with toxic smoke. In such a situation, a quick response is of great importance. You can lose precious seconds in the time it takes to figure out an escape route if one is not already in place. For this reason, it is important to create a good fire evacuation plan and practice it to ensure that those in the house or building are familiar with it.
Trace the floor plan onto the graph paper, or use a copier to duplicate it. Be sure to include every room and every floor. Draw in every window and door. If you cannot easily obtain a floor plan, then you will need to use the measuring tape to create your own. Measure the dimensions of each room and draw them into your floor plan, including the approximate positions of each door and window.
Make sure that any windows that are barred have quick-release mechanisms for rapid escape. Security bars that cannot be quickly released are a substantial fire hazard. Ensure that windows are not painted shut and are otherwise clear of obstruction. This would also be a good time to make sure that smoke detectors are in place at every level and that they are functional.
Identify two ways out of every room. It is always possible that one way may be blocked by flames, heat or excessive smoke. In such a case, you will need a backup route. Windows are generally to be used only in cases of last resort, especially windows on second floors and above. Draw lines from each room to the closest two points of exit. For example, you might be able to exit from a first-story bathroom by means of the window or by going to the porch door.
Determine a meeting point outside of the building, and draw routes from the points of exit to that location. It will be important for everyone to meet up so that all can be accounted for. Clearly label the meeting point on the evacuation plan.
Designate individuals to be responsible for certain tasks, such as calling 911, making a headcount and ensuring safety of pets. Write these roles and names down so that it will be a clear to all involved.
Practice fire evacuation monthly to ensure that everyone is familiar with it and knows means of escape and their roles in an emergency.
Be sure to go over the fire evacuation floor plan with children. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, children as young as 3 years old can follow an escape plan if practised regularly.