Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.
Most recent statistics released by the National Fire Protection Agency indicate a home structure fire is reported every 85 seconds. And because fire moves fast, people need to be ready to move faster. The fact is, when fire strikes a home can be engulfed in smoke and flames in just 2 minutes. That’s why it’s essential to create, and practice a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, so in case the first way is blocked there’s a backup plan ready to put into action.
- U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.
- According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half actually practiced it.
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of reported home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
So far in 2012 the North Shore Fire Department has responded to an overwhelming number of residential house fires, two which have resulted in fatalities. You can help prevent you and your family from becoming a statistic by visiting the North Shore Fire Department website at www.nsfire.org. Once you are on the website refer to the quick links on the lower left hand side of the page. Click on the FIRE PREVENTION MONTH icon and review the materials provided. Reading, reviewing, and participating in the fire prevention activities can reduce the chance that you will experience a fire in your home and at the same time prepare you so in the event that fire strikes you can GET OUT ALIVE!
The Fire Prevention activities will be available on the Northshore Fire Department website the entire month of October.