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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Fire Prevention Week 2011: In a Fire, SECONDS COUNT! Create & Practice a Home Fire Escape Plan


Between 2005 and 2009, there were an estimated 373,000 reported home fires and 2,650 associated civilian deaths inOregon. Fire can spread quickly through your home, leaving you little time to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning — a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.

Be Proactive

  • Draw a home escape plan and discuss it with everyone in your home. Start by drawing a map of each level of your home.  Show all windows and doors.  Click here for a HOME FIRE ESCAPE CHECKLIST from the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Practice the plan at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance away from the home where everyone should meet. This could be something permanent like a tree, light pole, or mailbox.
  • Practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them. 
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Make sure you can open all doors and windows easily.  Security barts should be equipped with quick-release devices.  Furniture and other objects should not block your exits.

Portland Fire & Rescue’s Deputy Chief Jeff Bancroft encourages families to use the home fire escape checklist to make sure your escape plan includes all the elements needed to ensure your household’s safety from fire. Chief Bancroft also reminds families to, “Know two ways out of every room, and two ways out of your home.”

React Quickly

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, immediately get out and stay out. Do not go back inside.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low close to the floor and go under the smoke to your way out.
  • Feel the knob and door before opening a door.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave.
  • Call the 9-1-1 from outside your home.

Family Members with Limited Mobility

  • Have a plan for everyone in your home who has a disability or would need assistance in escaping.  Develop and escape plan based around you and your family's abilities and practice it to make sure you can do it. Teach everyone in your household (and your neighbors) about assistance you or others may need.
  • If possible, those with limited mobility should have bedrooms on the first floor of your home so they can escape faster during an emergency.

Remember, the best step to take is to prevent fires from occurring. Knowing what to do should fire occur is very important. More important still is the prevention of a fire. Take the time to inspect your home for possible safety hazards. Fire prevention is something the entire family may participate in. Encourage children to assist with checking the home for hazards. By taking the time to carefully inspect your home for possible hazards, you may prevent a major catastrophe later on.

If you would like assistance with designing a home escape plan, contact Portland Fire & Rescue’s Public Education Office at (503) 823-3700.


   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 12, 2011 


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