When a fire occurs, there is no time to waste.
Plan ahead: discuss the escape routes with everyone in your household
- If you live in a single-family home, draw a floor plan of your home. Find two ways out of every room, especially sleeping areas.
- If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire. It may stop between floors or take you to a floor where the fire is burning.
- Know where all the exit stairs are on your floor. If the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke, you may have to use another exit.
- Make special arrangements for children, older adults and people who have disabilities.
- If the fire alarm sounds, feel the door before opening. If it is hot, use another way out.
- Close all doors behind you as you leave.
- Your plan should include a meeting place outside where household members will gather.
- Practise your escape plan at least twice a year.
Get out fast: do not stop for anything during a fire
- Do not try to rescue possessions.
- Go directly to your meeting place, then call 9-1-1 and ask for Toronto Fire Services.
- 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 low to the floor where the air will be cleaner and cooler.
…And stay out
- Once you are out of your home, do not go back for any reason.
- Heat and smoke during a fire are overpowering, and firefighters have the best chance of rescuing someone.
- Firefighters have the training, experience and protective equipment needed to enter a burning building.
If you cannot safely evacuate the building, shelter in place
- If fire or smoke is blocking all exits, stay in your apartment. Keep the door closed, and put wet towels around the door and vents to keep smoke out.
- Call 9-1-1 and tell the operator where you are.
- Open a window slightly and wave a bright cloth to signal your location.
Guidance for occupants of high-rise buildings (over six storeys)
Although the safest place to be during a fire is outside the building, if smoke is NOT entering your unit it is safe to stay where you are and wait for further instructions.