The St. Joseph Fire Department is focusing on fire prevention this month with the motto, “Not all heroes wear capes, plan your escape.”

Their prevention and safety measures target school-age kids to introduce basic fire safety concepts such as stop, drop and roll and planning exit routes.

Fire Inspector Mindy Andrasevits advises that knowing a plan in the case of a fire is important for all ages.

“A plan doesn’t just come to you in an emergency, you have to plan it and think of it ahead of time,” Andrasevits said.

Families should plan how to get out of a house during a fire and where to meet afterwards.

Closing bedroom doors at night is a key concept the fire department addresses, because it saves time and air during a fire.

“If a room fills up with smoke, a closed door saves precious time,” Andrasevits said.

Andrasevits said it’s important to have smoke detectors and check them throughout the year.

“I reinforce to kids that if they don’t have smoke detectors, then they can call the Red Cross and get one installed free of charge,” Andrasevits said.

This time of year is also a key time to check heating equipment, such as furnaces. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 5 home-fire deaths in the U.S. each year.

“It’s not bitter cold yet, but now is the time to test your furnace and turn it on,” Andrasevits said.

If it comes on and makes a large amount of noise and releases smoke, then home owners should call a professional sooner rather than later. It’s also important to have a carbon monoxide detectr next to the furnace and one near sleeping areas in the home.

Andrasevits says space heaters are another issue during this time of year because people are using old ones and not being cautious with them.

“If you’ve had to splice the cords together and tape it up, then get rid of it,” Andrasevits said.

During the rest of October, the fire department will be handing out fire prevention materials and demonstrating safety measures at local schools.

Bailey Ketcham can be reached