Home escape

Home escape

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.