Milwaukee Survive Alive House

Fire Education Center

Be Sure to Be Safe Steps

Before you go to sleep be sure to…





Have working smoke detectors. 







Know your escape routes and meeting place. 






Sleep with your bedroom door closed.  



 Roll out of bed. 



Shout to alert your family. 



 Crawl to the door.



Check the door with the back of your hand. 


If the door is cool, peek out the door. 



If you go through the door,

close it behind you. 


If needed, try the second way out. 





  If you are trapped, stay by a window.  Shout and signal for help. 



 Join your family at your

meeting place. 



Call 911.




Return to your meeting place.






The Milwaukee Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau has developed the BE SURE TO BE SAFE program.  The first three items are things you should do every night.  The next eleven steps tell you what to do when a smoke detector wakes you up.  Finally, you are reminded to practice your escape plan.  


Smoke detectors save lives.

You should have a smoke detector outside your bedroom door.  They should also be over space heaters and in rooms with bunk beds or loft beds.

Smoke detectors should be on the ceiling or high up on the wall.

Smoke detectors don’t cost a lot of money.  You can find them at hardware stores and some grocery, drug and other stores.   If your family cannot afford a detector, they are available at reduced cost through the Red Cross or MFD.

Press the TEST button at least once a month.

Change the 9-volt battery every year.  When you change your clocks in fall, change your smoke detector batteries.  Some smoke detectors have batteries that last ten years.

If your smoke detector chirps about once a minute, this means the battery is low and must be changed right away.

Batteries should never be removed unless immediately being replaced.  Smoke from burnt food contains poisons just like cigarette smoke.  The smoke should be removed from the house.

A smoke detector that is ten years old or older should be replaced.



Your escape routes and meeting place are your escape plan.

Your entire family should know the escape plan for your house. 

You should think of an escape plan if you are sleeping at a friends or relatives house.  Escape plans in hotels should be on the inside of the room doors.

You should have a least two ways out of every room.

Your family must have one meeting place.  This is how you will know everyone is out.

It is a good idea to draw your escape plan and hang it on your refrigerator.

If you move, your family must make a new escape plan.





Sleeping with your door closed keeps you safe from smoke and heat.

A room full of smoke is pressurized like a balloon.  The smoke is going to speed though a doorway that is open just a little.

If you leave your door open even just a crack, your room will quickly fill up with hot smoke. A tightly closed will keep most heat and smoke out.

If you do not like it dark in you room, get a night-light.

Very few house fires start in bedrooms.  Bedroom fires are often related to the careless use of smoking materials.

If your smoke detector sounds an alarm, to be safe…You must get out fast.  


Smoke goes up like a hot air balloon because it is warmer than the air around it.  The ceiling traps the smoke and heat.  The good air is pushed to the floor.

It can be over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit at the ceiling and over 400 degrees above your bed.  Sitting up would be like climbing into an oven where French fries or frozen pizzas are cooking.








Some people have a hard time waking up.  Shout “Fire!” 

Do not slow down.  Get out of the building quickly.











Crawl quickly on your hand and knees.  Crawling on your belly like a worm will slow you down.











The back of your hand is more sensitive to heat.

Start at the bottom of the door and move your hand toward the top.  If the bottom of the door is warm, touching the top of the door first might burn you.

Feel the doorknob last.  A metal doorknob can heat up faster than a wooden door.






 If the door opens inward, use the door as a shield. If the door opens away from you, use the wall as a shield.  If any flames come out, they will not hurt your face.

Crack the door open.  Look up and down through the opening for smoke or fire.

Close the door if you see any fire or a lot of smoke. If you see some smoke by the ceiling, you can try escaping out the door.






Closing the door keeps the smoke and heat out of your room.

If you decide it is too hot or smoky to go down the hall or stairs, you can turn around and go back to your room.  Closing the door should keep it safe for a little while.  This will give you more time to try your second way out.







If you cannot get out your door you will need to use your second way out.


Open windows.  Do not break them.  Broken glass can hurt and scar you.  When you practice your escape plan and if you cannot open your window, tell the grown ups in charge of your house.  The window should be fixed right away.

If you have metal bars on your windows, they should be secured with a padlock.  You must have the key in your room to unlock the bars.

You should be able to safely push open a window screen. 








Yell “Fire!”, “Help!” and “I’m trapped!” loudly.  You are trying to wake people up.

Throw things out the window to get someone’s attention.  Aim for windows to wake neighbors up.

Hang a sheet or blanket out the window to signal the firefighters.

Keep low and stay by the window. 

You might become trapped at a friend’s or relative’s house.  At home, you should know and practice your escape routes.





Your entire family must know your meeting place.

The meeting place should be a safe distance from your house.

Good meeting places are trees, poles, or a neighbor’s porch.  These things do not move.  A car is a bad meeting place because it can move.








Call 911 after you are out of the house. 

911 is only used for emergencies when help is needed right away.

There are other phone numbers for the fire and police department if the situation is not an emergency.

Sometimes people with emergencies get a busy signal when calling 911 because other people are calling for the wrong reasons.

Know your address!







After calling 911, immediatlely return to your meeting place.

Never go into a burning building.

Fire grows quickly, and if you try to go back in you will likely be injured by the heat and smoke.

Your things can be replaced.  By staying outside, you help the firefighters to rescue other people and pets.







Fire doesn’t need to practice.  It gets big and hot very quickly.  You need to practice to be faster than the fire.

You will test your escape plan when you practice.  If you test your plan, you can be sure it will work.  You do not want to find out your plan is no good during a real fire.

Practicing your escape plan is the best way to learn your plan.  You will remember what to do if you have a house fire.

When you become good at your plan, try to practice with your eyes closed or with a blindfold on.  Take the blindfold off before climbing out of a window.




Effective February 1, 2011, ALL one and two family buildings including owner occupied buildings will be required to have CO detectors in accordance with Wisconsin's new Carbon Monoxide Detector Law.

Three families and larger buildings in Wisconsin that have attached garages or “fuel burning devices” –gas heat, oil heat, gas dryers, gas stoves etc. had a similar law become effective last April.  

CO detectors must be within 75 feet of all fuel burning device and within 15′ of each bedroom. One is required in the basement if there is a “fuel burning device” down there. They are also required in common hallways spaced no more than 75′.

Battery and plug in units are okay. Mount them on the ceiling or wall.

Please see the links tab   above for more information, CO law links.