Fire Prevention Week underway across the US

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Fire Prevention Week 2017 began on Sunday, October 8 and ends on Saturday, October 14 across the U.S.

This year's theme for fire prevention week is "Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out," which is all about escaping to safety if you were to ever be involved in a house fire.

South Carolina ranks in the top 10 states for fire fatalities.

According to the state fire marshal's office as of last Thursday (October 5, 2017), there have been 80 fire fatalities and 65 fatal fires. So far this year, March was the deadliest month for fires in the state.

This is why fire officials stress the importance of having a plan.

One of the most crucial defensive steps you can take is having a smoke alarm in the home.

The following is this year's key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Burton Fire officials have already had several fires this year as well as four fatalities. Officials say keeping your door closed could save your life.

"The majority of our fatal fires are happening in the evening and hours when people are sleeping, after 11 p.m., so those bedroom doors will protect young lungs until they're able to wake up and escape from the house or protect them until the fire department can get there and get them out. Bedroom doors should really be closed," said Lt. Daniel Byrne, Burton Fire District.

Byrne says unattended cooking is the number one cause of fires. He emphasizes how important it is to have a properly working smoke detector and fire extinguisher to protect you and your family. He says a smoke detector shouldn't be more than 10 years old.

For more on Fire Prevention Week, click here.

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