Skip to main content

Seventy-seven Percent of Families Lack Home Fire Escape Plan

Families Urged to Plan and Practice During Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13)

Every day at least one child dies in a home fire.  In that same day, 293 children suffer from a non-fatal unintentional injury caused by a fire or burn.

In a nationwide effort to educate parents about the importance of fire safety during National Fire Prevention Week (October 7-13), Safe Kids and the United States Fire Administration are teaming up to ask every family to create a home fire escape plan and to practice it with the entire family.

According to a recent NFPA study, 77 percent of American households have not developed and practiced a plan to ensure they could escape quickly and safely during a home fire. Home fires account for nearly 90 percent of all fire-related fatalities, and young children are at a particularly high risk because they don’t perceive danger as readily and can lack the ability to escape a life-threatening fire situation.

“Fire can spread rapidly through a home, leaving a family as little as two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds,” said Siobhan Davis, Safe Kids Wake County Coordinator. “Along with a properly installed smoke alarm, parents should plan several escape routes out of their home and then designate a safe place to meet. Then practice with your kids so they know exactly what to do.”

Download Your At-Home Fire Escape Plan Worksheet

Safe Kids and the United States Fire Administration are encouraging everyone to create and practice an at-home fire escape plan using the Safe Kids downloadable worksheet. The worksheet provides a diagram to help children and parents work together to create and practice their own fire escape plan. In addition to planning, parents are encouraged to test all smoke alarms frequently, replace batteries at least once a year and install new alarms every ten years.

Safe Kids Worldwide and the United States Fire Administration also want to remind families that fires are preventable and we must join together to help reduce the number of home fires, and the resulting deaths and injuries.

Tips for planning and practicing how to escape from a home fire:

  • Place working smoke alarms on every level of the home, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom.
  • Make sure all windows and screens can be opened quickly.
  • Security bars should have a quick release device so you can open windows and doors in an emergency.
  • For upstairs windows, have an escape ladder that fits your windows. Make sure your children know that the escape ladder is for emergencies only and is not a toy.
  • Practice feeling the door, doorknob, and cracks around the door with the back of your hand to see if it is too hot. Help your children practice this step.
  • Teach children to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home.
  • Choose a safe place to meet in front of your home where you can be seen from the street.
  • If you cannot safely escape your home or apartment, stuff the cracks around the door and air vents with duct tape, towels or clothing and call 911.

NFPA has organized National Fire Prevention Week annually since 1922. For more details, please visit For more information about fire safety for children and families, as well as helpful tips and videos,  visit

About Safe Kids Wake County

Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States.  Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals. For more information, visit