Osakis firefighters were busy last week.

But instead of putting fires out, they were getting the word out — about how to stop fires from starting and how to escape them.

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, the Osakis Fire Department visited Osakis Public Schools, St. Agnes School and Galeon Senior Living on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

They also held an open house at the firehall later that afternoon where they visited with children and parents, showcased their fire and rescue trucks, taught kids how to escape a simulated fire in their Fire Safety House and trained them on how to handle a fire hose.

They also served up plenty of hotdogs and refreshments to a steady crowd of people at the firehall.

The all-volunteer fire department is comprised of 20 firefighters who have more than 200 years of experience between them. They serve the townships of all or parts of West Union, Little Sauk, Leslie, Gordon, Osakis, Orange and Belle River, along with the cities of Osakis, Nelson and West Union.

They also provide mutual aid for 10 other departments, which includes the bordering departments in Sauk Centre, Long Prairie, Carlos, Alexandria, Forada and Villard.

Osakis firefighters donate more than 3,000 work hours per year in rescue, firefighting, training, meetings and equipment maintenance.

The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week was “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape!”

The campaign recognized the everyday people who motivate their households to develop and practice a home fire escape plan.

The National Fire Protection Association noted that fire prevention messages are more important than ever these days because today’s homes burn faster than ever. Synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, are contributing factors to the increased burn rate, according to Lorraine Carli, the association’s vice president of outreach.

“People tend to underestimate their risk to fire, particularly at home,” Carli said. “That overconfidence lends itself to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice. But in a fire situation, we’ve seen time and again that advance planning can make a potentially life-saving difference.”