For 91 years, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week. This week from October 4 – 10 we will once again observe the longest running public health and safety compliance on record. The message this year is “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep”. NFPA’s goal is to have residents install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, and that’s including the basement. They encourage you to interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home for the best protection. When one sounds, they all sound.
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
While the Great Chicago Fire was the best-known blaze to start during this fiery two-day stretch, it wasn’t the biggest. That distinction goes to the Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history. The fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, and roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.
According to the latest NFPA studies, smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.
Here’s what you need to know!
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
- Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands how to respond.
- Install smoke alarms and alerting devices that meet the needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years
To learn more about Fire Prevention Week and “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep” Campaign, visit NFPA’s website at www.firepreventionweek.org.