Fire prevention day is observed on October 9th. This day exists to raise awareness of practices that can help prevent fire disasters and to recognize the work of the firefighters who fight them. In the United States alone, there are approximately 5,000 deaths and 25,000 injuries as a result of fires every year. Making it one of the highest fire death rates in the world. This shows how important fire safety and education truely is.
President Woodrow Wilson issued the first national fire prevention day proclamation in 1920. Every year since 1925, the president of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during the week of October 9th. This is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.
Fire prevention week was established to commemorate ‘The Great Chicago Fire.’ The ‘Great Chicago Fire’ started October 8,1871 and lasted through the next day, where most of the damage was done. During this great tragedy, more than 250 people were killed, 100,000 were left homeless, more than 17,400 structures were destroyed and more than 2000 acres burned.
On the 40th anniversary of ‘The Great Chicago Fire,’ The Fire Marshals Association of North America decided that the anniversary of that traumatic event should be observed in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. Today, The non-profit National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, has traditionally been the international sponsor of this day.
What Happens During This Event
On Fire Prevention Day, both children and adults learn about fire prevention including how to stay safe, what to do in case of a fire, and how to prevent them in the first place. Previous Fire Prevention Days have kicked off with slogans such as ‘Fire Feeds on Careless Deeds’ and ‘Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start.’ This year, the theme will be ‘Serve Up Fire Safety In the Kitchen.’
Acronyms such as ‘EDITH’ (Exit Drills In The Home) are taught to encourage families to have an escape plan set up in case of a fire. Smoke alarm installations and checks are promoted and the importance of being aware of dangers from everyday household items such as candles.
During this time, firefighters provide education and life-saving information to their communities. This is done in a variety of ways such as online games for kids to play from their homes on computers, tablets, laptops or phones, and activity booklets to complete at home or school. Banners and posters are also on sale to promote the day at schools and community halls, as well as magnets and badges to raise even more awareness. The NFPA even has a mascot, Sparky The Fire Dog. Sparky is especially aimed at children to make them more interested and engaged in learning about fire prevention.
The most important way to prevent fires is through education and awareness. Children and teenagers in particular need to learn about fire hazards and safety. Fire Prevention Day is an excellent opportunity to discuss fire safety with your kids, friends, and family, in a fun but educational way, with lots of activities and shared resources.
Here in Montana we deal with many types of fires, especially wildfires. This website provides helpful information on how to help prevent wildfires, https://mcfpa.org/wildfire_aware_safety.htm. It discusses wildfire awareness and safety tips, fire danger, fire news, fire plans and more. It explains that the #1 cause of wildfire in Missoula County is escaped debris fire. Other common causes are: fireworks, burning cigarette butts, lawn mowers, off-road vehicles, and chainsaws. All it takes is fuel, heat, oxygen and a heartbeat of time and voila: COMBUSTION.
PRACTICE WILDFIRE SAFETY
- Do not discard cigarettes from moving vehicles; use ash trays.
- When pulling off the side of the road, stay off dry grassy areas.
- Do not operate all-terrain vehicles on dry vegetation areas.
- Check lawnmowers and farm equipment for properly working spark arresters.
- Properly extinguish fires when cooking outdoors and never leave fires unattended.
- People start most wildfires. Promote and practice fire safety with all members of your family.
- Clearly mark all driveway entrances with name and address.
- Plan several escape routes away from your home both by car and on foot.
It's important to recognize a situation where you could cause a fire without even trying and prevent that event. For instance a regularly watered lawn surrounding your home can decelerate the spread of flames from a nearby wildfire. If you can't keep your lawn well watered, make sure vegetation is maintained at its lowest height. For maximum safety, get this done well before fire season.
This is just some of the great suggestions to help prevent wildfires in our area. Visit this website for a number of excellent resources to provide you with information to stay informed.