Even the most responsible homeowners and renters don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the catastrophic risk of fire. But since seven people die in home fires every day, I’m urging you to set aside 22 minutes to really think about your family’s fire safety plan.

One third of people surveyed thought they would have six minutes to get out after noticing a fire, but the actual amount of time is often quite a bit less. In an emergency, every second counts“ literally.

That’s why experts suggest that families create two escape plans that everyone in the family can execute without hesitation, even if one of their escape options is blocked. While 75% of families do have a plan in place, only half of them have actually practiced their exit strategy. Be sure that everyone in the family knows what to do and where to meet (across the street, at a neighbor’s mailbox, etc.).

While its smart to have an escape plan, its also smart to try to prevent fires in the first place. Here are some surprising statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and corresponding actions you can take to protect your family.

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries.

  • Never leave the stove unattended.
  • Turn pot handles away from the edge.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it.

Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

  • Don’t smoke in bed when you’re tired or when you’re distracted.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Use e-cigarettes with caution. Lithium-ion batteries can explode.

Three out of five deaths are in homes with no smoke alarms“ or alarms that don’t work.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each bedroom.
  • Check your alarms and batteries monthly. While this may seem excessive, it reinforces a good habit and is worth the few minutes that it takes.
  • Consider using a strategic combination of ionization smoke alarms (which are generally more responsive to flames) and photoelectric smoke alarms (which are generally more reactive to smoldering fires).

Half of home fire deaths occur between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am (even though only 20% of fires occur during that timeframe).

  • Make sure your smoke alarms are loud enough to wake everyone.
  • Test the alarm sounds while your children are sleeping to see if they hear them and to observe how they react.
  • Don’t keep your mobile phone, tablet or laptop on your bed or other soft surface. Lack of ventilation can cause a fire.

Now that you’ve spent a few minutes reading through this article, please take a few more moments to create, review or update your escape plan. Click here for a “How To Make a Home Fire Escape Plan” checklist and a grid to map out your exits. Remember Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.