Plan & Prepare

Make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire in your home

  • Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms
  • Agree on a meeting place outside your home. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside
  • Make sure everyone can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars should have quick-release devices and everyone should know how to use them
  • Check for clear exit paths by ensuring hallways, corridors, stairs and exit doors are not blocked, locked or chained
    • Make sure exit corridors and stairs are not obstructed
    • Make sure the exit doors are not blocked, locked or chained
    • If they are, report and discuss the violation with the building owner or management (they may not be aware of the hazard). If the violation is not immediately addressed leave the building and call the Fire Prevention Office on 604-980-5021 or email:
  • Practice using your plan twice a year

Live in an apartment building?

  • Use stairways to escape
  • Never use an elevator during a fire

Live in a two-storey house?

  • If you need to escape from a second storey window, make sure there is a safe way to reach the ground
  • Make special arrangements for children, older adults, and people with disabilities
  • People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor

During an Emergency

If you hear the fire alarm in the building:

  • React immediately! If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, exit the building immediately in a calm and orderly manner
  • Use the closet exit
  • Once outside and stay outside
  • Go to your meeting place and call 9-1-1 from outside the building

If you discover a fire in the building:

Immediately sound the building fire alarm by activating the nearest fire alarm pull station, leave the building and dial 9-1-1:

  • State your name
  • Give the address where the fire is
  • Provide information about the fire (i.e. where it is in the building, how fast it is spreading, people trapped, etc.)

Getting Out Safely

  • When an alarm sounds, leave the building immediately and go to your meeting place.
  • Always test doors before opening them by placing your hand on the door while kneeling or crouching on the ground. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.
  • If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan.
  • If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor. Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor.
  • If your clothes catch fire - Stop, drop, and roll! Drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.

  • If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke and wait at a window and signal for help with a light coloured cloth or a flashlight. If there's a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.
  • Once out, stay out. Never return into a burning building for any reason.

For more information contact the Fire Prevention Office at 604-980-5021 or email:

Share |