CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - During an emergency, knowing what to do is key to staying safe. At schools, arenas, and museums, there are clear directions about a way out in case of a fire.

However, the Charlottesville Fire Department is reminding folks that they should make or review escape plans for their home.

CFD Assistant Fire Marshall Johnathan Williams says you and your family should practice your escape plan at least twice a year. The first step should be making sure you have a working smoke alarm, and clear paths to doors and windows that open.

Williams says, though, not to rely on just one plan of escape: “You should have at least two ways out of every room in your house… You want to practice those in case one of the routes you have is blocked,” he said. “Make sure that you know where to go, how to get out.”

If you have more than one person in your home, Williams also recommends having a meeting place outside, so you can check to make sure everyone made it out in an emergency.

If you have any questions, or are in need of a smoke alarm, you can call the smoke alarm hotline at 434-970-3245.

08/07/2019 Release from Charlottesville Fire Department:

Charlottesville, VA – Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you and your family as little as two minutes to escape safely. The ability to get out quickly depends on advance warning from properly installed smoke alarms and preparing a home fire escape plan. Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire.

Follow these home safety tips when creating an escape plan:

  • MAKE a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • MAKE sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • KNOW at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
  • HAVE an outside meeting place (a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • PRACTICE your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, at least twice a year.
  • PRACTICE using different ways out.
  • TEACH children how to escape on their own in case your unable to help them.
  • CLOSE doors behind you as you leave.
  • ENSURE your house number is clearly visible from the road

If the alarm sounds:

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Never go back inside for people, pets or personal items.
  • If you have to escape through smoke GET LOW AND GO under the smoke to your way out.
  • CALL the fire department from outside your home. Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number for your location.

Home escape plans can help people prepare for an emergency. Most home fires occur at night, when people are least prepared. Home fires can become a disaster if you and your family are not familiar with how to escape during an emergency.

The Charlottesville Fire Department would like to remind City of Charlottesville residents you are eligible to have smoke alarms installed in your home at no cost to you. Please call 434-970-3245 to schedule an install.