An evacuation plan in 4 steps

An evacuation plan in 4 steps

When a house catches fire, it can take as little as 3 minutes for smoke to fill the entire home. Every second counts and, so does having an efficient evacuation plan. What should your evacuation plan cover?

1. Emergency exits

Emergency exits aren’t just doors, but can be windows too! Make sure you have at least two exits, especially if you have bedrooms in the basement. Make sure these exits are always clear. A bicycle parked in front of a door or a basement window half-buried in snow can make you lose precious time.

2. Escape routes

Plan two escape routes for each room if possible. Keep in mind that the main door to your home could be blocked in a fire: plan one or more alternatives like a window or patio door.

Make a special plan for babies and children (young children aren’t easily woken by a smoke alarm) and anyone who has reduced mobility.

3. Meeting place outside the home

Identify a place to meet a safe distance from the house where firefighters will see you. A specific place that everyone is aware of makes it easier to determine if anyone is missing and avoid confusion over whether a family member is still inside or somewhere else outside.

4. Location of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Remember that there should be at least one smoke detector on each floor. Newer houses must be equipped with interconnected electric alarms that go off simultaneously and alert everybody on all floors at the same time. Draw up your plan together with the entire family, including children. Make it into a game and ask them to help sketch it out.

I live in an apartment, should I have an evacuation plan too?

Absolutely! Inquire with the owner of your building or your condo association—there may already be an established plan for all tenants or condo owners. If not, you could suggest they draw one up and give it out to everyone.

It’s always a good idea to…

  • Make sure smoke detectors are working properly. Check them twice a year and change the batteries at each daylight savings time change.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in every unit if there’s a combustion appliance like a gas stove or a fireplace, of if the garage connects directly to the home

In case of fire:

  • If there’s smoke, cover your mouth with a damp cloth (if possible) and follow a wall on all fours.
  • Do not open a door if it or the door handle is hot. If they are, use a cloth or fabric to seal the bottom of the door.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely out of the house.
  • Never go back inside; firefighters are equipped to enter a burning building safely.

Annie Marmen
Media and prevention officer for Quebec City’s fire protection service

Source : Ministère de la Sécurité publique (French only)

Reporting a fire to your insurer

If your home has sustained damage from a fire or smoke, immediately contact your condo association or landlord. Afterwards, file a claim with your insurer. Keep all damaged property so that it can be assessed.

A few more tips:

  • Keep all receipts for expenses incurred as a result of a fire (hotel, restaurant, etc.).
  • Make a list of damaged property and if possible include a short description, serial number, purchase date, purchase cost and any other information that we can use to help you. Photos of the damage can be very useful in assessing your file.*
  • Have you ever heard of living expenses? These are expenses you must incur in addition to your regular expenses to maintain your usual standard of living and that of the people you live with. If you can’t live in your home, you may choose one of the following options:
  • You may stay with family or friend during the repairs. You may be eligible for a daily allowance.
  • You may also stay at a hotel or temporary apartment.

*Did you know? SSQ offers a free property inventory app that you can use to identify all your belongings and quickly determine their value.
Télécharger l’application mobile SSQ