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'Everybody thinks that it's never going to happen to them:' Fire prevention tips to keep you and your family safe

October is National Fire Prevention Month. Maine fire officials are urging people to have working smoke detectors and to have an escape plan.

BANGOR, Maine — October is Fire Prevention Month.

Fire officials in Maine are reminding people of what they need to do to keep their house, themselves, their pets, and their families safe.

"Everybody thinks that it's never going to happen to them, but it can happen to anybody...and it happens in a split second," said Chandler Corriveau, assistant fire chief at the Bangor Fire Department.

Corriveau says it's a matter of seconds. That's all it takes for small fires to turn into big ones. He suggests whenever you see a fire immediately, call the fire department instead of trying to battle the blaze yourself.

"Make sure that you have batteries in your smoke detectors and that they are working, that you have a carbon monoxide detector and that that is working, that you service your heating appliance if you have a family with young children that you practice a home escape plan and that you have a meeting place," said Corriveau.

"Early detection is critical, so having properly placed smoke alarms and properly working smoke alarms throughout the home is the best way to save lives," said Portland Fire Chief, Keith Gautreau.

This year's national fire prevention month theme is "know the beeps."

"3 beeps is a signal for a smoke alarm detecting smoke, 4 beeps detects carbon monoxide if you hear just a small chirp that detects that your battery is low," said Gautreau.

Gautreau says homeowners should always check that their fire alarms are working at least twice a year. "and that saves the most lives, believe it or not, more than sprinklers, sprinklers save buildings but smoke alarms save lives," he said.

The Portland fire chief says the most common fires in Maine, are cooking-related fires because people tend to leave the stove on while cooking and forget to turn it off, he says the most deadly fires that we see result from smoking.

"I can't stress enough about having working smoke detectors, we still see that time and time again where a tragedy would have been prevented if they just had working smoke detectors," said Corriveau.

Another good idea is to teach your kids how to call 911, in case of an emergency.

Fire officials say to call the fire department if you have any questions, they prefer to answer any concern than to be there putting fire down when your house or building is in flames.