Have you ever wondered whether smoke alarms really save lives?

Consider that between 2007-2011, smoke alarms were present in almost three-quarters, 73 percent, of reported home fires and sounded in half, 52 percent, of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments, according to National Fire Protection Association.

When smoke alarms were present in fires considered large enough to activate them, they operated 86 percent of the time. More than one-third, 37 percent, of home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present at all, according to the NFPA.

One-quarter, or 23 percent, of the deaths were caused by fires in properties in which smoke alarms were present but failed to operate.

The number of preventable deaths is staggering.

To that end, the Billings Fire Department is joining the NFPA to observe the 2015 Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10. This year's theme is, "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm."

Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep, according to Billings Fire Marshal Michael E. Spini. He encourages residents to keep their family safe with a working smoke alarm in every bedroom.

"Smoke alarms save lives," Spini said. "If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half."

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Billings,contact the Billings Fire Department at 657-8423. To learn more about smoke alarms and “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep”, visit NFPA’s website.

The Billings Fire Department will be hosting fire station open houses during Fire Prevention Week to promote “Hear the beep where you sleep!” Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of working smoke alarms and testing them monthly. The open house schedule, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is as follows:

• Monday - Oct. 5, Station 2 located at 501 S. 28th St.

• Tuesday - Oct. 6, Station 4 located at 475 Sixth St. W.

• Wednesday - Oct. 7, Station 3 located at 1928 17th St. W.

• Thursday - Oct. 8, Station 5 located at 605 South 24th St. W.

• Friday - Oct. 9, Station 6 located at 1601 St. Andrews Drive

• Tuesday - Oct. 13, Station 7 located at 1501 54th St. W.

• Wednesday - Oct. 14, Station 1 located at 2305 Eighth Ave. N.