Making a Fire Safety Action Plan

Time is critical when fire is involved. Thousands of people, including children, are injured or killed in fires each year. To protect your family in case of a fire in your home, create a fire safety action plan. This teaches your family what to do in a fire, and can help save lives. This sheet explains how to make a fire safety action plan. Child's drawing of house plan with fire escape route marked. Crayons lying on top of drawing.

Creating the plan

Sit down with all family members, including children. Try having the kids help draw the plan of the home. Your plan should:

  • Identify escape routes. There should be 2 ways out of each room. These can be doors or windows. Explain to your child that one escape route may be blocked, perhaps with fire or smoke. In that case, the second escape route should be used. The plan should also show doors and windows that lead out of the home. If you live in an apartment, make sure the plan shows the location of stairwells that lead downstairs to building exits.

  • Include a meeting place where you will all meet after leaving the home. It should be a safe distance from the home, out of the way of fire crews.

  • Teach kids how to call 911 or emergency services in case of fire. They should call from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone only after they are safely out of the home. All children should memorize their street address for this purpose.

The plan should have a written list of instructions for kids in case a fire starts. These should include:

  • Stay calm.

  • Yell “fire” several times.

  • Get out of the home right away! Don’t go back in for anything, including family members and pets.

  • Go directly to the designated meeting place. Wait there until told otherwise.

Practice is critical: have fire drills

Practice helps your child learn the fire safety action plan. Have regular fire drills, at least twice a year. This helps your child remember what to do in case of a fire, and can help him or her stay calm.

Teach your children about fire safety

Don’t forget to teach your children other important rules about fire safety:

  • Stop, Drop, and Roll on the floor if clothes catch fire.

  • Crawl to prevent breathing in smoke.

  • Don’t hide from firefighters. They may look scary in protective gear, but all of their instructions should be followed during a fire.

For more information on fire safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association website at