Photo: Andrew Mahone
October 4 marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Week 2015. Fire Prevention Week designates a time when our nation focuses on fire safety and how to prepare and protect our families, homes, business, schools and churches from the destruction fires cause. This year’s theme “Hear the Beep when you Sleep” reinforces the fact that “every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm”. In fact the National Fire Prevention Association ordinance proclaims that a smoke alarm isneeded in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. (NFPA 72)
Fire Prevention Week has occurred every week since 1922. The week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire which of 1871. There are several theories as to how the fire began but the facts of the fire’s tragic destruction can’t be denied. The fire killed more than 250 people and left over 100,000 Chicago residents homeless. It destroyed over 17,000 structures (mostly wooden) and burned more than 2,000 acres on October 8 and 9, 1871. Chicago was in ruins. To the residents of Chicago at the time, the destruction caused by the fire must have been overwhelming. With one in three residents of city homeless, any remaining structure provided sanctuary. One only has to consider more recent tragedies like 9/11 to understand how devastating and disrupting tragedies can be. Nonetheless, Chicago endured and Chicagoans rebuilt an even stronger city.
The lessons of the Great Chicago Fire are many but a few things clearly stand out. One, our cities need a solid, strong infrastructure that supports our lifestyles and two, being prepared saves lives, businesses and cities. When disasters, in this case fire, do strike being prepared can make the difference between life and death. Third, and most importantly, the American will to survive and go on is stronger than any tragedy or disaster.
On the 40th Anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshall Association of America decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should be observed not with festivities but in a way that would inform the public about the importance of fire safety. In 2013, US fire departments responded to an estimated 369,000 home fires that caused 2,755 deaths and 12, 2000 civilian injuries. Fires at home structures caused over $7 billion in direct damage. (NFPA) Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013.
Photo: Jason OX4
This year’s theme “Hear the Beep When You Sleep” aims to save lives. Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 were caused in homes with no working smoke alarm. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in (reported) home fires in half.
Firemen and firewomen serve our neighborhoods and communities by making countless sacrifices for our safety and well-being. Embrace Fire Prevention Week 2015 by preparing your home and workplace with working smoke alarms and practiced fire escape plans. Banners, table throws, fire safety kits, fire rescue flags, lapel pins, fire Department flags, are items that can help make our preparation fun and, more importantly, memorable for children and adults. Carrot Top also provides custom tents, custom flags, fire Department Patches and freedom vehicle flagpoles sure to make your Fire Prevention programs a success.
TOP FIVE WAYS TO BE PREPARED FOR A FIRE:
Smoke alarms don’t just warn us of fires, they save our lives. “So hear the beep, while you sleep” and use the following checklist to get prepared!
1. Install and maintain a working smoke alarm outside of every sleep area and remember to change the battery at least once a year.
2. Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.
3. Teach everyone the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" technique in case clothing catches on fire.
4. Avoid storing old mattresses in the home or garage.
5. Teach kids that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer or cabinet.