There are steps you can take to improve your odds of surviving
sudden disaster. Everyone should have a personal emergency
evacuation plan when visiting an unfamiliar building, staying at
a hotel or attending a performance or special event. For the
most part, the advice offered here hinges on heightened
observation of your surroundings and a bit of advance
BEFORE YOU ENTER
a good look around! Does the building appear to be in a
condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the entrance wide
with doors that open outward for
exit? Is the outside clear of materials stored against the
building or blocking exits? Does the staff appear attentive and
Identify beforehand, and be sure everyone traveling with you
knows, an emergency contact person (relative or friend) to call
in case you become separated during an emergency.
Plan a meeting place. Agree upon a meeting
place outside of and a safe distance from the building to meet
family or friends who may be accompanying you. If there is an
emergency, be sure to all meet there. Immediately
notify emergency personnel of any missing person.
When you enter a building, look for all available exits. Are
the exits clearly marked and well lit? Some exits may be in
front and some in back of you. Always be prepared to use the
exit closest to you as you may not be able to use the main
exit. Become familiar with your surroundings and plan your
escape. When an area becomes dimly lit or fills with smoke you
will not be able to see the exit signs.
Check for clear escape routes. Make sure
aisles and hallways are not obstructed by chairs or furniture.
Check to make sure your planned exit door is not blocked or
chained closed. If there are not at least two clearly marked
exits or escape routes are blocked, report the violation to
management and leave the building if it is not addressed
immediately. Call the fire department and register a complaint.
Do you feel safe? Does the building appear to
be overcrowded? Maximum occupancy limit should be posted near
the front door. If you cannot move comfortably now, it will be
even more difficult or impossible in an emergency. Are there
fire sources that may make you feel unsafe such as candles,
pyrotechnics, people smoking carelessly or other heat sources?
Are there safety systems in place such as exit lights, smoke
alarms and fire sprinklers? Ask the management for
clarification if you are concerned. If you don’t feel safe,
leave the building immediately. Again, always trust your
DURING AN EMERGENCY
If an alarm sounds, you see smoke, fire or other unusual
situation, do not wait to see what others may do - exit the
building immediately but calmly. Use your closest exit - keep
in mind that your closest exit may not be the main exit.
Easy to say, but crucial to your survival. Remaining calm can
significantly increase your chance of survival. Having a plan
gives you the advantage at the time of an emergency - everyone
should preplan their emergency evacuation.
Once you have escaped, stay out. Do not go back into the
building until authorities say it is safe to do so. Let
firefighters and emergency personnel do their jobs.