Fire Prevention Week – October 9-15, 2011

Protect Your Family From Fire

The National Fire Prevention Week has been observed since 1922. Now the event is sponsored and promoted by the Visit the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). The Official Site has Tons of Great Information about Fire Prevention. Their goal is to educate families about the leading causes of home fires and ways to protect yourself and your family. Many times schools and communities will sponsor special events to increase awareness and get everyone involved in thinking about fire safety. Visit the official NFPA Fire Prevention Week website at and while your there take their online Fire Prevention Week Quiz to test your knowledge of fire facts.
Don’t Miss the Sparky the Fire Dog Videos for Kids at the bottom.

We all know the importance of Fire Prevention, but do you know how Fire Prevention Week came to be?

How to Train your Cow Better and Other Fire Prevention Tactics…

Back in October of 1871, a woman by the name of Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow in the family barn when the cow knocked over her kerosene lantern. This small flame quickly ignited the O’Leary barn and rapidly spread beyond, burning everything in its path. This fire continued to grow and eventually took out the majority of the financial district of downtown Chicago, IL. The fire later became known as the Great Chicago Fire. This is just one of the theories of the start to the Great Chicago Fire. The real instigator may never be known for certain. The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday, October 8, to Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about 4 square miles. We do know that the destruction seen over the days of the fire is something that no one would ever like to see again. And that is why National Fire Prevention Week was started.

A firestorm is called nature's nuclear explosion. Here's a wall of flame, a mile high, five miles wide, traveling 90 to 100 miles per hour, hotter than a crematorium, turning sand into glass.

National Fire Prevention Week 2011 is from October 9th through the 15th. Every year the week is determined by the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire and the other fires that took place on that same day. These fires caused much tragedy and destruction but now the anniversary brings education about fire prevention. The massive devastation that left much of the Midwest covered in nothing but ashes drew attention to the need for education on fire prevention. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson named the day the fires took place, October 9th, National Fire Prevention day. This day later turned into a week long educational period from the Saturday through Sunday of the week containing October 9th each year. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has been the official sponsor of the National Fire Protection Week from the very start.

You most likely know about the Great Chicago Fire, but the other fires blazing throughout the Midwest on the same day are often left out of history lessons. All of the fires taking place at the same day are sometimes hard to believe. Besides the theory of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, conspiracy theorists hypothesize about a potential meteor shower that could have caused the many simultaneous massive fires. Still others believe it was simply the right set of conditions at this point in time. The conditions were prefect — drought combined with endless forests, wood buildings, and brush clearing fires constantly underway. Also at the same time, a tornado developed, causing a disaster that all together killed thousands of people and destroyed millions of acres of land.

After this fateful day, it was realized that people needed to be educated about fires and how to prevent them. Now, every year during the designated National Fire Prevention Week, the NFPA sets out to build awareness and provide materials for communities to teach their residents how to prevent and deal with fires. The NFPA website provides some good information on how house fires most often occur. For the most part, home fires from a chimney or fireplace are a result of a lack of maintenance or leaving flammable items too close to the heat source.

In the early 1950’s the NFPA developed “Sparky” the Fire Dog. He has been a real hit with both kids and adults alike over the years and has served as the mascot of all Fire Prevention efforts. You may see him on TV, in a cartoon, in a parade or even in person at the fire station for a special event. He may seem just like a cute dog, but he has a serious message that is designed to save lives.

Here are some important statistics on heating and home fires provided by the NFPA

• Fires involving heating equipment peak in December, January and February, as do deaths from these fires. Overall, homes fires and home fire deaths are also more common in the cooler months of the year.
• Heating equipment was the second leading cause of all reported home fires and home fire deaths.
• The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
• Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
• U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 64,100 heating-related home fires each year between 2005-2009, causing an average of 560 deaths, 1,620 injuries and $904 million in direct property damage.
• One home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009.
• On average, seven people died in home fires every day. Adults 65 and over face the highest risk of fire death.
Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, ©2011 NFPA.

Please Visit the Official Site for Tons of Great Information about Fire Prevention

You’ve heard it before, but it is always a good tip to remember: an annual chimney inspection is one of the most important ways to prevent home fires from occurring. It is also important to keep up with regular maintenance and minor repairs to prevent more serious fires. And of course, don’t let the cows get too close to your lit kerosene lamps. This year, in celebration of Fire Prevention Week, schedule your annual chimney inspection today!

Now Some Fun for the Kids!

Enjoy the Short Videos – the 15 and 30 second clips are great fun for kids featuring Sparky the Fire Dog. Visit the Sparky Website is Super Cool with Games and tons of stuff to explore. Visit Sparky’s Game Website.

These videos have some great advice.

Have an Escape Plan

Get Low and Go

Use Smoke Alarms

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