Departments spread awareness during Fire Prevention Week

Napa County firefighter Jason Sheumann sprays water on a home as he battles flames from a wildfire Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through Northern California sending residents on a headlong flight to safety through smoke and flames as homes burned. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – This week is Fire Prevention Week across the country and fire departments are working to spread awareness and the message of fire safety.

The National Fire Protection Association utilizes its mascot Sparky the fire dog to teach children the importance of home escape plans and to never go back into a burning building.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Gary West emphasized to News 2 how important home fire drills can be.

“You need to practice, just like you did in school with fire drills, you need to practice, know where to go to, have a meeting place outside, know to call 911, know what to do, have a plan,” said West.

In Tennessee, 64 people have lost their lives in fires in 2017, which is down slightly from this time last year.

The state of Tennessee has smoke alarms available through its Get Alarmed Tennessee program.

The program began in 2012 and nearly 200 people get smoke alarms installed by firefighters each week.

Most fatal fires happen across the state during the colder months of the year.

“A fire in your home is the last thing you would expect to happen.  Most people take it for granted, that you have a smoke alarm that’s been there for many years, and it’s protecting you.  You need to check those, this is the time to do it,” said West.

There are two ways to receive a free smoke alarm. You can call your local fire department for inquiries or click here.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has launched a video contest, asking for creative submissions with fire safety messages. Click here to learn more. 

The State Fire Academy tells News 2 there is currently a shortage of firefighters across Tennessee.

Click here to learn more about applying to be a firefighter.

Click here to learn more about Fire Prevention Week.