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October 9-15, 2011 – Fire Prevention Week

Everyone Can Help Protect Against Fire Throughout The Whole Year
by Dave Lamb – dave@mychimneys.com
The National Fire Prevention Week has been observed since 1922. Now the event is sponsored and promoted by the Visit the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association). The Official Site has Tons of Great Information about Fire Prevention. Their goal is to educate families about the leading causes of home fires and ways to protect yourself and your family. Many times schools and communities will sponsor special events to increase awareness and get everyone involved in thinking about fire safety. Visit the official NFPA Fire Prevention Week website at www.firepreventionweek.org and while your there take their online Fire Prevention Week Quiz to test your knowledge of fire facts.

KIDS – Don’t Miss the Sparky the Fire Dog Videos for Kids at the bottom.

Fire Prevention Week
– The spark for this effort started with the Great Chicago Fire

“A firestorm is called nature's nuclear explosion. Here's a wall of flame, a mile high, five miles wide, traveling 90 to 100 miles per hour, hotter than a crematorium, turning sand into glass.”

On October 8th, 1871, the United States endured an unfortunate series of devastating fires. You probably already know about the Great Chicago Fire, but did you know that this was only one of many devastating fires that occurred on this day? Some believe that a woman named Mrs. O’Leary had a cow that knocked over a kerosene lamp that started the fires. Conspiracy theorists hypothesize about a potential meteor shower that could have caused the many simultaneous massive fires around the Midwest. Others believe it was simply the right set of conditions at this point in time. The conditions were prefect — drought combined with endless forests, wood buildings, and brush clearing fires constantly underway. This, along with a tornado occurring in these conditions, created a series of natural disasters that all together killed thousands of people and destroyed millions of acres of land. The fire burned from Sunday, October 8th to Tuesday, October 10th in 1871. Without modern fire fighting techniques and equipment there was no stopping this disaster that destroyed about four square miles in Chicago.

These fires caused much tragedy and destruction and it is because of the raging fires on this day that National Fire Prevention Week exists. The massive devastation that left much of the Midwest covered in nothing but ashes drew attention to the need for education on fire prevention. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson named October 9th, National Fire Prevention day. This day later turned into a week long educational period from the Saturday through Sunday of the week containing October 9th each year. This year National Fire Prevention Week is from October 9th through the 15th. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has been the official sponsor of the National Fire Protection Week from the very start.

Almost everyone has seen or heard of “Sparky” the Fire Dog. He was created in the early ’50’s to increase awareness about Fire Prevention and has served well as the mascot of National Fire Prevention Week. You may have seen Sparky at the local firehouse, in a parade, on TV or in a comic book or cartoon – he really gets around! He’s a hit with kids and adults alike, not just because he is a lovable character – Sparky has a serious message that helps to save lives too.

Important statistics on heating and home fires provided by the NFPA

• Fires involving heating equipment peak in December, January and February, as do deaths from these fires. Overall, homes fires and home fire deaths are also more common in the cooler months of the year.
• Heating equipment was the second leading cause of all reported home fires and home fire deaths.
• The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
• 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.
• U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 64,100 heating-related home fires each year between 2005-2009, causing an average of 560 deaths, 1,620 injuries and $904 million in direct property damage.
• One home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009.
• On average, seven people died in home fires every day. Adults 65 and over face the highest risk of fire death.

Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2011 NFPA.

Please Visit the Official Site for Tons of Great Information about Fire Prevention

You’ve heard it before, but it is always a good tip to remember: an annual inspection will greatly reduce your chances of a home fire from breaking out. Keeping up with regular maintenance from the start can lessen your chances of problems occurring as well. This year, in celebration of Fire Prevention Week, schedule your annual chimney inspection today! Don’t let neglect make you a statistic or part of forgotten history. Prevention is key.

Now Some Fun for the Kids!

Enjoy the Short Videos – the 15 and 30 second clips are great fun for kids featuring Sparky the Fire Dog. Visit the Sparky Website is Super Cool with Games and tons of stuff to explore. Visit Sparky’s Game Website.

These videos have some great advice.

Have an Escape Plan

Get Low and Go

Use Smoke Alarms

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