Local fire departments are teaming up to relay important safety messages for Fire Prevention Week, which is being observed Oct. 7-13.

This year's theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

The Lehighton Fire Department will be holding a Fire Prevention Week program from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Shull-David Elementary School.

The program will be held at the school instead of at the Lehighton Fire Station because of a construction project.

Lehighton's department will also be hosting Fire Safety Activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote "Have Two Ways Out!" at the Shull -David Elementary.

There will be a fire apparatus display on the lower playground of the school. The Fire Safety House of the Franklin Township Fire Department will also be available for children to practice how to remain calm in an emergency.

The Mahoning Valley Fire Department will be providing a fire extinguisher training simulator for families to practice the proper techniques should a fire occur.

Meanwhile, the Franklin Township Fire Department will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

There will be a dark smokey maze set up for you and your child to perform "crawl low and go", along with a hands on fire extinguisher demonstration.

"If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? Lt. Steve Ebbert of the Lehighton Fire Department asked.

He said according to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans households thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.

"One home structure was reported every 85 seconds in 2010," says Ebbert. "Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways is essential to ensuring your family's safety should fire break out in your home."

Lieutenant Shawn Sheckler of the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department recommends the following tips for planning your family's escape:

Ÿ Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

Ÿ Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they've escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

Mark Hayman, 2nd Assistant Chief of the Mahoning Valley Fire Department also suggests:

Ÿ Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.

Ÿ Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.

Ÿ Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

To learn more about "Have Two Ways Out!" visit NFPA's Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org [1] .