"Fire Won't Wait, Plan Your Escape" by conducting home fire drills twice a year

Will Merritt
VDFP Public Information Officer


RICHMOND (October 12, 2022) – Today’s tip from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) for National Fire Prevention Week is to practice home fire drills at least twice a year.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, while 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of those have practiced it.

“A home escape plan that is regularly practiced saves lives,” said Ken Brown, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator. “Walking through the plan – just like kids practice fire drills at school – ensures everyone knows how to escape if the smoke alarm sounds.”

Follow these steps to protect you and your family:

  1. Practice home fire drills at least twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day and practice using different ways out.
  2. Children should be taught what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Show them how to exit by crawling on the ground and using the back of their hand to check doors for heat before opening and to use a different way if the door is hot.
  3. To conduct the drill, sound the smoke alarm and start the timer. Once everyone gets to the meeting place, stop the timer. If everybody made it out in two minutes, celebrate. If not, give it another try.

The 2022 Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires. Each day, VDFP will release fire safety tips to help Virginians be prepared in case of an emergency.