Unfortunately, you can’t predict when the unexpected may happen, but you can put emergency plans in place today to help protect those who matter most in your world. Fires can spread quickly throughout your home, and you could be left with only a few minutes to get safely out of your house once the smoke alarm goes off. Being prepared with a well-practiced plan can make all the difference.

Practicing good fire safety precautions to prevent fires at home is crucial, and having a fire escape plan is an important part of being prepared and keeping your family safe. Did you know 71% of Americans have a fire escape plan but only 47% of those with a plan have practiced it, according to Ready.gov? Here are three easy tips to help create a fire escape plan for your family.

1. Draw a Floor Plan of Your Home

Creating a map of your home can help you identify at least two ways out of each room. This includes windows and doors. Review the floor plan with your family members, so everyone knows the fastest and safest routes out of the house from various points of your home.

2. Choose a Meeting Spot

In an emergency, things can get hectic fast. Designate a safe place — like a tree or mailbox — far enough  away from your house where your family members can meet.

3. Practice and Time Your Escape Plan

Don’t overestimate how much time you have to exit your home in the event of a fire. According to Ready.gov, in as little as two minutes a fire can become a life-threatening situation, and in five minutes a home could be overcome with flames. Be sure your plan gets you and your family out of your home as quickly as possible.

It’s important to practice your escape routes with your family at least twice a year so everyone is well-informed and prepared.

As you prepare, be sure you:

  • Include two ways out of every room.
  • Check your windows to ensure they are working properly and screens can be removed quickly.
  • Practice your plan in the dark. Putting your plan into practice may be different if it’s at night versus during the day. You may need to crawl and feel around your surroundings in order to make it out of the house safely.
  • Talk with children about not hiding from emergency responders.
  • Regularly discuss the plan with your family members.
  • Create a copy of your plan and keep copies in known locations around your home.
  • Test your smoke detectors/alarms often.
  • Talk about staying low to the floor and crawling under smoke.

Creating a fire escape plan is an important step to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for the unexpected things life may throw your way. And, don’t forget to talk with your Farm Bureau agent to be sure your insurance coverages are keeping and ensuring you’re as prepared as possible should the worst happen.