Home fire escape plan checklist


In the event of a fire, a working Smoke Alarm used in conjunction with an Escape Plan will greatly increase your chances of getting out safely. Smoke alarms can alert you to a fire, but an escape plan can then help get you and your family out fast!

Every home and workplace should have a fire escape plan. Accidental home fires by their very nature can catch people unawares. Without an escape plan you are placing your life and your families' lives in jeopardy.

Escape Plan Checklist

  • Draw your escape plan on paper or our printable grid, and discuss your escape plan with your whole family (download and print your grid).
  • Know and record two safe ways out of every room.
  • Make sure that your windows and doors are not obstructed and can be unlocked and opened quickly if necessary.
  • As you escape make sure you close internal doors behind you. This can reduce fire spread and minimise damage.
  • Decide on a safe outside meeting place eg. Near the letterbox.
  • GET OUT and STAY OUT! Never go back inside a burning building.
  • Install smoke alarms: test them monthly and change the batteries every 6 months (for battery operated alarms).
  • Practise your escape plan regularly with the whole household including pets.
  • If there is a fire in your home, do not wait, EVERY SECOND COUNTS, escape immediately and then call 000.
  • Remember to consider the special needs of children, the elderly or the disabled when developing your escape plan.


  • Smoke from a fire will make you confused. You cannot see through the smoke, always GET DOWN LOW and head to your nearest exit.
  • When asleep you will not smell smoke and it will in fact put you into a deeper sleep.
  • If your clothes catch fire: STOP, DROP, COVER and ROLL until the flames are extinguished.
  • Oil, gas or wood heating units may require yearly maintenance checks.
  • Only ever use fuses of the recommended rating and install an electrical safety switch.
  • Home fire safety is important for the whole family and preparation can prevent a tragedy.


  • Never open doors that are hot to the touch. To make sure that fire is not on the other side use the back of your hand to feel a closed door. If it feels hot, use your alternate escape route.
  • Security bars require special precautions. Security bars can trap you in a fire. Windows and doors with security bars should have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately.

If you live in an apartment building

Smoke alarms can save your life

Having working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and replaced according to the recommendations in How do I maintain my smoke alarms.