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National Fire Prevention Week is this week, and local firefighters will visit elementary schools to spread awareness, Texarkana, Texas, Fire Marshal Chris Black said.

"They are a captive audience, and it usually seems to make a big impression on them," he said.

This year, TTFD is partnering with drama students from Texas High School to perform skits about fire prevention and safety.

"They go home and tell their parents what they learned. Going into the schools is a good way reach a lot of households in a short amount of time," Black said.

The Fire Department will stress the use of smoke alarms and also having an escape plan in the event of a fire.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the NFPA. About half of home-heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for 43 percent of home-heating fires and 85 percent of home-heating fire deaths, according to NFPA.

Specific groups at risk include people with disabilities and older adults.

The leading factor contributing to home-heating fires (28 percent) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress or bedding, was the third-leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home-heating fires at 53 percent.

President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on Oct. 4-10, 1925, beginning a presidential tradition of signing a proclamation recognizing the occasion. It is observed on the Sunday-through-Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began Oct. 8, 1871, and did most of its damage Oct. 9.

The horrific fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

Fire Prevention Week has been sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association since 1922, according to NFPA.

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