ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WENY) - The "National Fire Protection Association" has deemed this week to be "Fire Prevention Week." Many fire departments here in the Twin Tiers will be hosting open house events this week to engage the community.

In honor of the special week, the Elmira Heights Fire Department held their annual open house Monday night. Every year the department holds their open house the Monday of "Fire Prevention Week" to help kick the week off. 

"This year's theme, is "Not Every Hero Wears A Cape." The idea is that we can take steps ahead of incidents to kind of be the hero before the incident actually happens," says Matt Gale, the Fire Captain for Elmira Heights Fire Department. 

Several activities were offered during the open house that the public could participate in. All the way from taking out a fire, to making sure you're always wearing your seat belt. There were also several other public agencies at the open house, including, New York State Police, Erway Ambulance, Chemumg County Sheriffs Office, Town & Country Fire Department and many more. Elmira Heights Fire Captain, Matt Gale tells WENY News this week is crucial because it affects everyone and their safety. He says there are two things you need to know to help keep you safe when it comes to fire safety. He says you need to make sure you have a working smoke alarm and you need to make sure you also have a plan. 

Fire Captain Gale added, "An escape plan is critical for safety in the household, making sure that the kids know where to go specifically if they get in a house fire." 

The Elmira Heights Fire Department says they're always looking for volunteer firefighters. 

"We've got a lot of really dedicated volunteers, but it's always a struggle. The state has a lot of training requirements, it takes a lot of time to be able to get certain certifications and different things to be a firemen, but everybody can participate," says Fire Captain Gale. 

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or know someone who is interested, the Elmira Heights Fire Department says to stop by the department and fill out an application. The department says they accept junior firefighters, anyone who is 14 or older can join the fire department. However, the department says you do not start responding to incidents until you're 18-years-old.