Fire Prevention week fall on this week this year (October 4th through October 10th). This week of education is important, especially to all elementary aged children–though may adults can learn a thing or two about fire prevention as well.
The night of October 8th and into October 9th 1871 marks one of the most well-know fires in our nations history. This fire destroyed 2,000 acres of the city, leaving an estimated 100,000 people homeless, and 250 people dead. A lesser-known fire, but even more deadly fire was ablaze at the same time approximately 250 miles north of Chicago. This one, known as the Peshtigo Fire destroyed 16 towns, burned 1.2 million acres, and killed over 1,000 people.
“On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.” (National Fire Protection Association) Fire prevention week has been in effect over nine decades (since 1922). This is a time to refresh what we’ve learned and prepare our families in the event of a fire.
What can I do?
Take the time. Take the time to change batteries in your smoke detectors. Take the time to educate yourself and your children about fire safety. Take the time to run through fire drills in your home. Take the time to walk through your home and locate or remove fire hazards. Take the time to be safe. Take the time to keep your family safe.
You’re never too young or too old to learn about fire safety.
- Choose a meeting place for you family or a location that everyone goes to in case of a fire in the home. This keeps everyone together. You don’t want anyone running inside (even a fireman) because someone decided to go to their friend’s house down the street. It can be the big tree in your backyard, or your neighbor’s prized bird feeder. Just make sure it’s far enough away from your house and easily identifiable to all members of your family.
- Go from room to room and identify two ways out in every room of the home. Teach them to feel the door with the back of their hand before reaching for the door knob. Doors and windows and explain how they can safely escape. (Tie sheets or towels together to make a rope, go onto the roof of the porch, teach them to use what is in the room)
- Also teach them what to do if they can’t escape (DO NOT HIDE. Don’t go under the bed or in a closet.) Wet towels or blankets and cover the cracks under the door to keep the smoke from coming in.
- Walk through the house with them and identify and fix fire hazards in your home.
- Check smoke detectors and get fire extinguishers replaced or serviced. Teach everyone in the home how to use one. This video demonstrates how to use a fire extinguisher.