Each year, more than 2,500 people die in house fires. But, simply following a few important tips can help reduce those numbers. The Grand Rapids Fire Department is among many, across the nation, taking part in Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 8 - 14.

As a part Fire Prevention Week, fire officials are inviting residents to visit their local Grand Rapids fire stations Wednesday, Oct. 11th to celebrate and learn life-saving tips.

According to Fire Chief John Lehman, firefighters are organizing open houses at each station to educate people of all ages on the importance of fire prevention.

Educational aspects include:

• Fire Apparatus displays
• Fire gear demonstrations
• Registration for the Residential Safety Program
• Giveaways, including coloring books, hats and fire safety literature.
• The Fire Safety Trailer will be located at the Monroe Avenue Station (corner of Monroe Avenue and Leonard Street). The Fire Safety Trailer is used to educate children and adults on home safety practices and escape plans.

"The Open Houses at each station is another great outreach program that our department offers to educate the public," Chief Lehman said.

"This year's official Fire Prevention Week theme is 'Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.' The theme is a reference to the fact that homes burn faster than ever. Residents may have as little as two minutes, possibly less, to safely escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Having working smoke detectors in the home, planning an escape route and practicing the plan with the family is critical," he said.

Chief Lehman said the department's offers a free Residential Safety Program (RSP), which proactively educates residents about fire safety in the home and also installs smoke alarms (and soon, carbon monoxide detectors) in homes that require them.

In the past five years, GRFD personnel have conducted Home Safety Assessments in more than 7,300 homes. In that time, it has also installed more than 45,000 smoke alarms.

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