KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Multiple fire departments are sharing ways to safely escape if your house catches on fire.

Mark Wilbanks with Knoxville Fire Department says one of the most important ways to stay safe is through smoke alarms or detectors. The detectors themselves last about 10 years according to Wilbanks. He adds that it is a good plan to test them once a month. In addition, the batteries should be changed during the fallback and spring-forward time changes.

Wilbanks also said to make sure you have multiple ways to get out of your home. He adds that once you are outside the home to stay outside. Going back into a burning house is likely to end badly. He also said to close doors within your home as this can stop the fire from spreading.

“It’s close to 1,000 degrees difference if that door is closed. Literally, you can look at a fire scene where a door is closed and you can see where there’s virtually no fire damage on the inside of that closed room versus the outside just a few feet away where all those superheated gases were,” said Wilbanks.

October 9-15 is this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.” To help educate people about ways to stay safe, The Alcoa and Maryville Fire Departments have joined with State Farm and the National Fire Protection Association to spread awareness.

“Today’s homes burn faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as two minutes (or even less time) to safely escape from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on early warning from working smoke alarms and advance planning,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of the Outreach and Advocacy division at NFPA.

The public is encouraged to create and practice a home escape plan. National Fire Protection Association says to practice the home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household. They add to practice once during the day and at night.

“Fire safety education isn’t just for school children,” said State Farm agent Misty Castiglia. “Fire presents a real risk to all of us, making it important for every member of the community to take these messages seriously and put them into action.”

Safety Tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your home escape plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
  • Smoke alarms need to be placed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • When possible have at least two ways out of every room.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.,” visit