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Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health observance in the United States, recognized every year since 1925.

Oct. 6-12 is Fire Prevention Week, a time every year when fire fighters around the country spread messages of prevention to the public. Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health observance in the United States, recognized every year since 1925.

This year, our focus is on reminding people to know and practice their escape routes should a fire occur. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, you may have a minute or less to evacuate during a home fire. It is important to make your home escape plan and practice it with everyone in the family. Know where your two exists are from every room, and make sure you have a safe way to evacuate from upper-story exits. 

Check that your smoke detectors are functioning — there should be at least one on every level and one in every sleeping area. 

Pick a meeting place outside the home, a spot far enough away to be safe from heat and flames. And make sure everyone knows to call 911 once they are safely outside the building. 

While no one ever wants to experience a home fire, it is important to be prepared should one occur. By checking your smoke detectors, identifying escape routes and practicing your evacuation, you can do more to protect your and your family’s safety. 

Walla Walla native Rocky Eastman is chief of Walla Walla County Fire District 4. A Walla Walla High School graduate, he started as a firefighter in 1988 when he joined Fire District 4 as a volunteer. In 1991, he was hired by the city of Walla Walla Fire Department and spent 13 years as a career firefighter, paramedic and captain before returning to Fire District 4 in 2004 as deputy chief. He was promoted to chief in 2005. In addition, he serves on the board of the Washington Fire Chiefs Association. He enjoys every aspect of the fire and emergency medical service.