This week marks the annual Fire Prevention Week, which coincides with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

This year's theme is "Have 2 Ways Out!"

If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire.

Safety tips

Ensure that you have properly installed working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give early warning so you can get outside quickly.

Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.

Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.

Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.

Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.

Practice using different ways out.

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.

Close doors behind you as you leave.

If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets. If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out. Call the fire department from outside your home.

For additional information, contact the Darien fire marshal's office at 203-656-7345 or email Fire Marshal Bob Buch at

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