Fire Prevention Week, the National Fire Protection Association's annual awareness campaign, is Oct. 7-13.
The fire safety organization is reminding the public to "Have Two Ways Out," the theme for this year's effort focuses on the importance of having multiple escape routes in the event of a fire.
"Less than 25 percent of American households have developed and practiced a fire escape plan to be prepared in the event of a real emergency," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Communications. "Having a plan and knowing what to do can make the difference between getting out safely and quickly or not."
The Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org is the central portal for information and resources to help people from fire chiefs and community leaders running outreach programs, to parents teaching their families basic home fire safety information.
The site includes fire safety tip sheets, fire statistics, a family safety checklist, Sparky the Fire Dog activities for kids and public service announcement videos.
Visitors can also test their knowledge of fire safety with the Fire Prevention Week Quiz, a great resource to see how well prepared families are for an emergency. Quiz-takers can review their results and compare them with others via Twitter and Facebook.
New for 2012, NFPA launched Sparky's Wish List, designed to help fire departments connect with their local communities. Fire departments across the country have registered for public safety education materials they need in their communities. Individuals can then help their local fire department prepare for Fire Prevention Week by fulfilling the wishes.
NFPA offers these important fire safety tips:
Watch your cooking. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Those leaving the kitchen, even for a short time, must turn off the stove.
Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Smoke outside. Ask smokers to smoke outside. Have sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers.
Keep matches and lighters out of reach. Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
Inspect electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections.
Be careful when using candles. Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Have a home fire escape plan. Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
Install smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
Test smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace conventional batteries once a year or when the alarm "chirps" to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
Install sprinklers. When building or remodeling a home, install residential fire sprinklers. Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.