This week (October 9-15) is Fire Prevention Week, and life safety advocates across the nation are reminding Americans to "Protect Your Family From Fire!"
First established in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 structures, Fire Prevention Week has been observed every year since during the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 (the day the Chicago Fire did most of its destrcution) falls. During this week, the fire service and life safety advocates across the country partner together to raise awareness about fire and life safety issues and to educate the public on key prevention measures.
Here are a few simple ways you can observe Fire Prevention Week and take steps to protect your family from fire:
- Check your smoke alarms. Nearly 2/3 of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms. It is a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year (every six months is recommended by some), or sooner if indicated in the manufacturer's instructions. Also, if your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced. There are several affordable smoke detection options available on the market today.
- Create a fire escape plan and practice fire drills. As a family, create a fire escape plan and put it into practice! Make sure that every member of the family knows at least two ways out of every room.
- Check electrical cords, appliances, outlets, etc. The Electrical Safety Foundation International has created a Fire Prevention Week toolkit that contains a useful "Home Safety Checklist" for what to look for to reduce potential fire hazards in the home.
These are just a few simple things to do. To learn more about how to protect your family from fire (and Fire Prevention Week generally), please visit http://www.firepreventionweek.org.