Grand Forks Fire & Rescue wants to help you set up an escape plan. When a fire breaks out you only have a matter of minutes to get out of your home after the smoke alarm sounds. For starters, you can draw a map of your home including all the doors and windows.

Deputy Fire Chief Richard Piché says it’s important to practice:

“Make sure that you practice the drill at least twice a year and not just at the same times, you know do one at night, do one in the day. Make sure you teach the little ones how to escape on their own, and make sure when you do get out you have a meeting place so everyone can meet at one central place and know that everybody’s out.”

He says a great escape plan covers all options:

“When I set up these mocks I set up an example ‘okay you can’t get out that door, that door’s blocked or the fire’s there, what is your option?’ So when you do practice your escape plan practice that, this door that you typically go in and out of every single day is not going to be open today, so whats the alternative?”

Ensure you know at least 2 ways out of every room, and that windows and doors are easy to open. If you have to escape through smoke, stay low and go. Grand Forks Fire & Rescue has visited 3 pre-schools in town recently spreading fire safety awareness.

Piché says escape plans aren’t as common in households as one might expect”

“They don’t usually actually even think about it until people like us go and educate the kids, and then the kids take that back to mom and day and say ‘hey the fire department told me about an escape plan what’s that?’ Very, very seldom do I ask kids and they say they have one in place.”

It’s crucial you practice your plan with alternating conditions, and at different times of the day and year. When a smoke alarm sounds, get out and don’t go back inside for anything. You should also close doors behind you and call the fire department from outside of your home.