Fire Prevention Week

Each October, we recognize Fire Prevention Week. This year’s FPW campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA) statistics show that in 2017 U.S. fire departments responded to 357,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,630 fire deaths and 10,600 fire injuries. On average, seven people died in a fire in a home per day during 2012 to 2016.

“These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

Be a hero
How do you define a hero? Is it…a person who is courageous and performs good deeds? Someone who comes to the aid of others, even at personal risk?

A hero can be all of those things. A hero can also be…someone who takes small, but important actions to keep themselves and those around them safe from fire. When it comes to fire safety, maybe you’re already a hero in your household or community. If not, maybe you’re feeling inspired to become one. It’s easy to take that first step – make your home escape plan!

Why planning and practice matter
• Home escape planning and practice ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and is prepared to escape quickly and safely.
• Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.
• When the smoke alarm sounds in a real fire, it’s too late to start making a plan.

How to make a home escape plan

Importance of fire prevention
In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land. •

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