WASHINGTON Ill. (WMBD) — The Washington Fire Department held its 2022 open house in celebration of the end of fire safety and prevention week on Sunday.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, hundreds of thousands of fires occur each year, with the leading cause attributed to cooking.

Fire safety and Prevention week is meant to teach the youth about what protective measures to take in case of an emergency.

Central Illinois first responders said this year’s theme was “Fire Doesn’t Wait, Find an Escape” and focused on teaching kids how to identify entrances and exits should a fire occur.

Lt. Jakob Spitzer of the Washington Fire Department said he thinks it’s vital to teach kids fire safety at a young age.

“Fire prevention is so important that we teach our younger ones how to get out of their house in an emergency, how to dial 911, how to look for fire, how to look for smoke, things like that, that way, in the event of an emergency, they’re trained,” said Spitzer. “They have that knowledge to escape safely, without harm.”

Jenny Miller said her six-year-old son was enthralled with fire safety week at school and came home eager to show what he learned.

“They went on a field trip the other day to the fire department, and he came home telling us to check the smoke detectors and how to form an escape route,” said Miller.

Fire Safety and Prevention week is from Oct. 9 – Oct.16.