Baby's First Year · Parenting · Pregnancy

Fire Safety: The Home Escape Plan

Family sitting at table planning their Fire Escape Plan

Keeping your child safe is a full-time job as any parent knows. An important part of home safety is your home fire escape plan. Here’s Josephine Park, a Firefighter and Public Educator with Toronto Fire Services, to share her expertise and walk us through the steps.

As a Firefighter, Public Educator and a mom of two children under the age of four, I’ve seen that teaching fire safety from a young age is absolutely critical to keeping the entire family safe from potential tragedy.

Ask yourself this:
If your child is woken by the sound of the smoke alarms loudly beeping in the dark of the night, would they know what to do?  It has been found that in this situation when every second counts, young children who have never learned what to do may try to find a hiding spot (under the bed or in a closet for example) and stay there – a truly terrifying thought.

Home fire safety steps to help protect your family: 

  1. Make sure your child knows what the smoke alarm sounds like
    • Enlist their help to check the smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year. They’ll love being involved and helping you!
  1. Create and practice a Home Escape Plan
    • This is a fun yet vitally important and empowering family activity. Help them understand the layout of your home by drawing the floor plan of the house or apartment, identifying two ways out of every room, and designating a “meeting place” at the front of the home.
    • Get those bodies moving and practice evacuating regularly during the day and at night (and remember to walk briskly don’t run!). To decrease their fears you can tell young children that it is so important to be prepared just in case.
  1. Discuss who will be responsible for evacuating babies, the elderly and those with special needs
    • It’s important to have this discussion with the other adults in the household.  Don’t assume that everybody will just “figure it out”.  Do all of this knowing that you are preparing your family to do the right thing in the event of a fire.

If you have any fire safety questions, please contact Toronto Fire Services Public Education Division at (416) 338-9375 or

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