Working smoke alarms save lives. Test yours every month!

That is the National Fire Protection Association’s focus this year for fire prevention week, which runs Oct. 5-11. Several area fire departments will hold open houses this month, starting with an open house in Bowdoinham today.

According to the NFPA, fire prevention weeks has taken place since 1922, “established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.” The fire began on Oct. 8 that year but continued into and did most of its damage the following day.

The focus this year is to educate the public on the importance of working smoke alarms, which according to the NFPA, sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. Fire Departments in 2007 to 2011. Three of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke detection systems. Learn more about fire prevention week and smoke alarm safety at fire- preventionweek.

One of the largest local open house programs is put on by Brunswick Fire Department and is Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 4-7 p.m. at Emerson Station, located at 284 Bath Road. There will be a bounce house, helmets, popcorn, prizes and more. Displays include a smoke house, firefighter and fire safety equipment, local hospitals, child identification and fire extinguisher training. Children can crawl through the smoke house, tour fire trucks and slide down the fire pole. They also can win a ride to school on a Brunswick fire engine (one child from each elementary school).

In addition to the open house events, there will be special programming on Brunswick’s Cable Channel 7 during fire prevention week: Sparky’s ABC’s of Fire Safety; Know When to Go: React Fast to Fire; Home Fire Drills; Get Out Alive; Stop, Drop and Roll; Spark’s Great Escape; Matches and Lighters are for Grown-ups; and more.

Here is a list of some of the other area open houses scheduled:

— Bowdoinham Fire Department is hosing an open house tonight Oct. 3 from 5-7 p.m. at the fire station at 57 Post Road. Its firefighters will also go to Bowdoinham Community School today for a fire drill and presentations to the students.

— Topsham Fire and Rescue’s annual life and safety open house is Sunday, Oct. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at its station at 100 Main St.

— West Bath Fire Department invites the public to its annual open house on Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 4-7 p.m., at 192 State Road.

— Freeport Fire and Rescue’s fire prevention open house is Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 5-7 p.m. at its public safety building at 16 Main St. The event will include a number of displays and interactive activities from fire and rescue, the police department, the Brunswick 911 Communications Center and the Midcoast Community Emergency Response Team & Amateur Radio Emergency Service Team, including the smoke trailer, seat belt convincer, and a fire extinguisher demo. Ambulances and fire engines will be on display and K-9 Kassie will be in attendance as well. The Maine Public Safety Pipes and Drums will perform and hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase.

— Wiscasset Fire Department will hold an open house at the station at 51 Bath Road Oct. 8, from 6-8 p.m.

— Bath Fire Department welcomes kids, families and people of all ages to its open house Oct. 9, 6-8 p.m. Its fire station is located at 864 High St.

— Richmond Fire Department hosts an open house Monday, Oct. 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

— Woolwich Fire Department’s fire prevention and public safety night is Oct. 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the station at 13 Nequasset Road.

— The Lisbon Fire Department on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be at Abuchon Hardware Store on Lisbon Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its fire department day, featuring static displays, a bounce house and free fire prevention give- aways. Firefighters will also be in Lisbon Community School on the week of Oct. 20 doing fire prevention education.

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