October 9th is Fire Prevention Day. This day was established in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson and commemorates the Great Chicago Fire and the Great Peshtigo Fire, both of which began on October 8, 1871. Over 100,000 people were left homeless due to the Chicago Fire, and between 1,200 and 2,400 people were killed in the Great Peshtigo Fire.
Fire Prevention Day and Fire Prevention Week, which occurs during the week of Fire Prevention Day, are meant to raise awareness of fire prevention and motivate families to be safe when it comes to fire. The theme of 2012’s Fire Prevention Week is Have 2 Ways Out, which challenges families to have 2 possibilities of exiting their homes should a fire occur. Visit Sparky.org for fire safety fun for kids and activities your family can do over Fire Prevention Week.
Did you know that 62 percent of the deaths that occurred from home structure fires in 2012 took place in homes with no working smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all? Always make sure you have smoke alarms in your home and replace the batteries at least once every 6 months, and check you smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly.
Cooking, heating equipment, and clothes dryers are leading causes of home fires. Never leave food on the stove or in the oven unattended, make sure your heating equipment is safe to use, and regularly clean out the lint from your dryer to prevent these avoidable sources of fire.
Candles are also a major source of home fires. Never leave an open flame unattended and consider using flameless candles in place of real candles. Store candles, matches, and lighters out of reach of children and never allow your children to play with fire.
Take Fire Prevention Day and Week as an opportunity to go over fire safety with your family. Practice Stop, Drop, and Roll and plan safe fire escape routes that your family can practice this week. Stay safe and don’t forget to thank a firefighter!