On October 13th, let the home fire drill games begin!On October 13th, let the home fire drill games begin!

We do fire drills at school. We do them at work. Now let’s do them at home.

A home fire happens every 86 seconds, yet half of parents say their kids wouldn’t know what to do if their smoke alarm went off.

​Home Fire Drill Day

is when we’ll change that by turning drills into family games.

house and treeshouse and trees

Home Fire Drill Instructions

Learn the basics before you play.


Step 1. Know where to go.

  • Pick a safety spot that’s near your home and a safe distance away.
  • Explain to your kids that when the smoke alarm beeps, they need to get out of the house quickly and meet at that safety spot.

Step 2. Check your smoke alarms.

  • Test your smoke alarms with your kids so they know the sound.
  • Make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every level of your home, and one in each bedroom. Learn more here.

Step 3. Do the drill.

  • Have kids head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin.
  • Got kids under 6? Assign adults to help anyone who’ll need it.
  • Put one adult in charge of sounding the smoke alarm and running the drill.
  • Next, sound the smoke alarm, start the timer and have everyone book it to the safety spot.
  • Once everyone gets to the safety spot, stop the timer. If you all made it in under two minutes, you each get an imaginary gold medal. If not, give it another try.
  • In a real fire, get to the safety spot, then call 911 and keep everyone close until firefighters arrive.
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See a family fire drill in action!

Fire Drill Video
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Got it? Good. Now have fun with it and play some Fire Drill Games.

Fire Drill Games teach kids how to escape a home fire in ways that are fun and memorable. Use your awesome parenting powers to make up fun prizes you can enjoy as a family – like staying up late together for pajama movie night – if everyone aces your home fire drill.

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Pause the TV

​Commercial Break For It

Kids watch TV on Saturdays, and commercial breaks are about two minutes long. What a coincidence –that’s how long it should take you to safely escape your home in a fire. So let’s practice fire drills during commercial breaks. The challenge: Can your family get from the TV to the safety spot in under two minutes?

Prize: Beat the challenge and get to watch an extra TV show before bed.
Pause the TV
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Ready, Set, Speedwalk!

How fast can your family get to the safety spot without running? Race against the two-minute timer to speedwalk from your bedrooms to the safety spot. Want to raise the stakes? Get there in less than one minute. But no running.

Prize: Under two minutes? Breakfast for dinner. Under one minute? Ice cream for dessert.
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No flash light

Lights Off

It’s important to know how to escape if the smoke alarm goes off at night. Can you get out in under two minutes...in the dark? Practice your home fire drill at night, with all the lights turned off. If everyone makes it to the safety spot in two minutes or less, it’s a win. Recommended for kids over 6.

​Prize: Stargaze in your yard on blankets, or tell ghost stories inside, with mugs of hot chocolate.
No flash light
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girl crawling to stay low

​Get Low And Go

You can walk out of your home in two minutes. But can you crawl out? If there’s smoke, you’re supposed to stay low. So practice escaping on all fours from different rooms in your home. When you get outside, get back on your feet and dash to your family’s safety spot. Recommended for kids over 6.

Prize: If the family makes it in two minutes, everyone gets to sleep in a pillow fort.  
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Think like Ninjas

​The Biggest Ninja

Everyone in your family needs to know all the ways out of each room in your home. Challenge your family to think like ninjas. Whoever can identify the most ways out of every room is the Biggest Ninja. Use our worksheet to draw all the ways out that you think of. Ninja wisdom: Not every exit is a door.

​Prize: For the rest of the day, everyone gets to go by ninja names.
Think like Ninjas
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musical chairs

Beepin’ Musical Chairs

Help kids get familiar with the sound and meaning of a beeping smoke alarm with this twist on musical chairs. When the music starts to play, move around the chairs; when the music stops playing, quickly sit in a chair. Every few rounds, beep the smoke alarm and have all the players (adults and kids) abandon the game to get to the safety spot.

Prize: Whoever reaches the safety spot first without running gets to be the DJ for the next round.
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Pledge & Play

Make a pledge to practice your home fire drill twice a year and get your friends to do the same. Spread the word about Fire Drill Games, and we'll send a virtual high five and one million warm fuzzies your way.

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Download App


Want more home fire safety tips? How about a stopwatch designed just for home fire drills? Download the Make Safe Happen app for all of this and more.

​Download Map


Need some help drawing your home fire escape plan? Don’t worry, there’s a worksheet for that.

​Download resources


Love our Fire Drill Games? Ready to spread the word about home fire drills? Download our fire safety resource pack to share with your friends and community.

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Our Partners

Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program and our partners are launching Home Fire Drill Day on October 13th, 2018 - the last day of Fire Prevention Week. Home fires are one of the biggest safety threats facing American families today - there’s one every 86 seconds. Our goal is to encourage and empower parents to teach their children what to do in the event of a home fire. Together, we can #MakeSafeHappen.

Learn more about Make Safe Happen and our partners, and help spread the word about Home Fire Drill Day.

  • Nationwide's Make Safe Happen
  • Safe Kids Worldwide
  • American Red Cross
  • Safe States Alliance
  • National Association of Counties: NACo
  • National Safety Council
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • Nationwide Children's Hospital
  • National Fire Prevention Association