Mifflin Township's main fire station at 475 Rocky Fork Blvd. and the Jefferson Township station at 6767 Havens Corners Road will open their doors to the public Sunday, Oct. 4.

Mifflin Township's main fire station at 475 Rocky Fork Blvd. and the Jefferson Township station at 6767 Havens Corners Road will open their doors to the public Sunday, Oct. 4.

From 1 to 4 p.m. at Jefferson and 1 to 3 p.m. at Mifflin, firefighters will demonstrate fire safety to residents, show children what it is like inside a fire and put all of their fire equipment on display.

"If you've ever wanted to see a piece of fire-safety equipment, come on in because it will be here," said Bill Greenwalt, Jefferson Township Fire Department's acting assistant chief.

The reason for observing Fire Prevention Week is more than just to satisfy residents' curiosity, though.

"Every 20 minutes, a house in Ohio is on fire," said Dave Brizius, Mifflin Township Fire Department fire-prevention officer. "And in your lifetime, you or an immediate family member will have a fire. Those are the statistics."

Fire Prevention Week is observed nationwide, with fire departments opening their doors for residents to look inside, get to know the crew and learn about ways they could make their homes and lives safer.

"Fire Prevention Week is just one part of fire prevention for us," Brizius said.

He conducts at least 100 classes in Gahanna-Jefferson schools every school year, explaining fire safety.

Both fire stations will have activities for children and goodie bags to take home.

"We'll be giving them plastic fire helmets," Greenwalt said.

Jefferson also will set up its safety house -- a scaled-down model of a home. Greenwalt said a parent or firefighter could take children inside, put them in a bed and then help them respond when a fire alarm is sounded.

"We also have that fake stage smoke we're going to pump in," he said.

Firefighters at both stations will dress in full turnout gear. The heavy clothing and complete mask attached to a bottle of air makes for a menacing sight for children who have never seen it, Greenwalt said.

"We'll also talk to them so they can see what it's like for a firefighter to try to talk through it," he said. "It's like Darth Vader."

Greenwalt said firefighters would be on hand to offer advice to parents, especially on fire alarms.

"We show them the Underwriters Laboratories monogram on it," he said. "If it doesn't have a UL on it, don't buy it."

Fire Prevention Day is the result of the Oct. 9, 1871, "Great Chicago Fire," which killed 250 people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of buildings. The National Fire Protection Association, on its Web site, states Fire Prevention Day was established Oct. 9, 1911.

The single Fire Prevention Day was expanded in 1992 to an entire week, which would include Oct. 9.