PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- You may have heard some fire alarms in Philadelphia Thursday night.
That's because the Philadelphia Fire Department conducted a citywide drill where families practiced their escape plan in case of a fire.
"A practice plan makes it easier for people to remember exactly how to react in the event of a fire," said Deputy Fire Commissioner Jeffrey Thompson.
The fire department also conducted a demonstration of how they respond to a house fire; this example was in the Northeast on Richton Road.
During the drill, the family got out to their rally point across the street and everyone was accounted for.
But achieving that during an active fire is easier said than done.
In January this year, we were reminded how tragic fires can be when 12 people, including 8 children, died when a Christmas tree caught fire in Fairmount.
Deputy Commissioner Thompson says surviving a blaze starts before you go to sleep.
"Close your doors when you sleep at night. A closed door will hold back smoke and fire for a limited period of time," said Thompson.
He says if you become trapped, you - and especially children - must be prepared.
They have to know what to do if they can't find mom or dad.
"You want to first feel the door. If it's hot to the touch that means that there is a fire advanced and you don't want to open the door. What you should do then is call 911, let the dispatcher know exactly where you are located in the house," said Thompson.
At the practice Thursday we met Maureen Donahue who knows all too well how important an escape plan is.
She and her family are survivors of a house fire.
"Anytime I hear the sirens it brings tears to my eyes. The roof ignited and spread to the neighbor's roof," said Donahue.
It's because the Donahue's were prepared they're here today.
"The main thing is we came out with our lives. Things can be replaced but family can't," said Donahue.
Also, smoke alarms are a crucial part to the safety of anyone. They're the first line of defense.
The city says if you need one just call 311 and set up an appointment.
The fire department will come out and put one on each floor if needed.