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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

National Fire Prevention Month

10/9/2014 (Permalink)

Did you know that October is National Fire Prevention Month?  We are currently in the middle of Fire Prevention Week, which is typically the 2nd week of October.  Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which 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, 1871, but did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.  The cause is unknown, although everything from a cow to a cigarette to a meteorite have been blamed.

While the Great Chicago Fire is the most memorable, it wasn’t the biggest. The Peshtigo Fire was the most devastating forest fire in American history.  It also occurred on October 8, 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 9th falls.  According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.  To learn more about the history of Fire Prevention Week, visit the National Fire Protection Agency.

Here are some fire facts that you may not have known:

  • In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, $6.9 billion in direct damage.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.  For more information on escape plans, read this: Escape Planning
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in one in five (18%) of home smoking fire deaths.
  • About half (48%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.
  • On average, there are 32 home candle fires reported per day.
"Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2014 NFPA."

So what can you do to protect yourself, your family, and your business?  We recommend checking out the Home Fire Safety Checklist from the National Safety Council.  Home fire sprinklers may be one possible solution.  For more information, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.  Finally, make sure you have a plan in place for your business as well.  In addition to protecting your employees, you can also take steps to protect your building and its contents.  We can help.  Call us at 609.894.8555 to schedule a complimentary assessment of your facility.  We can help you plan for every disaster.  Learn how at Getting Started, and then email us with any questions. 

Stay safe, and remember to thank a firefighter this month!

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