There were nights when Toledo fire Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld would tuck his sons into bed, say goodnight, and walk away.
Minutes later, he would set off a smoke detector in their home to make sure the family could execute an escape plan they had devised.
“The first time you have an emergency is not the first time you want to test an emergency plan,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
He and other Toledo fire officials are hopeful a Fire Prevention Week kickoff event Saturday at the Toledo Firefighter's Museum will inspire families to develop plans and practice.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum, 918 W. Sylvania Ave.
A “smoke trailer” will be outside the museum to simulate the experience of being in a smoke-filled room.
Smoke detectors donated by SMB Construction will also be available, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
Smoke detectors are always available at Toledo fire stations, free of charge, to anyone who is a Toledo resident, the lieutenant said.
Fire officials recommend having smoke detectors on every floor of a house — including the attic and basement — and inside every bedroom.
"There's not any good excuse not to have them if you live in the city," Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
The kickoff event is aimed at educating children, but officials said they hope the children who participate Saturday will ask their parents if their smoke detectors work or if they have a safety plan, Lieutenant Hertzfeld said.
“If you're not prepared it can have a tragic outcome,” Lieutenant Hertzfeld said about fires.
“ … People always say, 'I can't believe it's happening to me’ — it can happen to any of us."