Monday, October 6, 2014

Fire Prevention Week

Every year, fire departments across the country observe Fire Prevention Week, which was created to draw attention to fire safety issues. This year, Fire Prevention Week is observed October 5-11, and the theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives – Test Yours Monthly.” Here’s a little history of Fire Prevention Week.

In 1911, on the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire (which destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 250 people, and left 100,000 more without homes), the Fire Marshals Association of North America decided to commemorate the fire by promoting fire prevention. President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in 1920, and in 1925 the first National Fire Prevention Week was observed. The National Fire Prevention Association now sponsors Fire Prevention Week.

Fire Prevention Week begins on the Sunday of the week in which October 9 falls. (The Great Chicago Fire started on October 8, 1871, but did the most damage on October 9.) Each annual observance is underscored by fire safety themes such as “Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start,” “Fire Won’t Wait – Plan Your Escape,” or “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.” During World War II, themes like ”Fires Fight for the Axis!” and “We Burned the Enemy – Now Save Yourself from Fire” tied fire prevention to the war effort and subsequent victory.

According to NFPA and the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

For more information on fire safety and National Fire Prevention Week, go to

(Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week Website, Copyright 2014 NFPA.)

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