2012 National Fire Prevention Week: “Have 2 Ways Out!”
KIDS – Don’t Miss the Sparky the Fire Dog Videos for Kids at the bottom.
Although National Fire Prevention Week has been observed annually since 1922, events which occurred in 1871, including the Great Chicago Fire, are the inspiration for it. It’s important to prevent a repeat of such devastation, which is why President Woodrow Wilson named October 9th National Fire Prevention Day in 1920. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has been the official sponsor of National Fire Prevention Week since its inception. The 2012 observance is from October 7th through 13th, and the theme is “Have 2 Ways Out!”
The main goal of this annual focus on fire prevention is to educate families about how to prevent home fires and what to do in the event of a fire. Schools and libraries often sponsor special events for the purpose of getting people to think about the importance of fire safety.
Fires can ignite and spread very quickly. The best example is the 1871 disaster. Though no one really knows for sure how the Great Chicago Fire started, the story goes that Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow in the family barn when the cow knocked over her kerosene lantern. The O’Leary barn went up in flames, and the fire spread rapidly, consuming everything in its path.
The truth is that eventually, a devastating fire, which burned from October 8th through 10th, moved into the financial district of downtown Chicago, Illinois. Hundreds of people were killed, and approximately 4 square miles of downtown Chicago were destroyed. What many people don’t know is that at the same time, there were several devastating fires throughout the Midwest. The cause is still a mystery, though drought conditions contributed to the level of devastation that resulted from the simultaneous fires. Altogether, thousands of people were killed and millions of acres of land were destroyed.
The more we know about fires, the better chance we have of preventing them and escaping them. The leading causes of home fires include:
• Failure to clean solid fueled heating equipment, such as fireplaces. It’s most often a buildup of creosote in the chimney which causes a home to catch fire. This problem is best resolved with an annual cleaning and inspection by a professional chimney sweep.
• Heating equipment is the second leading cause of reported home fires and fatalities. Placing heating equipment too close to flammable objects – such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, and bedding – is the primary culprit. This issue is the cause of about half of the deaths attributed to home heating fires in the U.S.A.
Sparky the Fire Dog, who came on the scene in the early 1950s and has been the face of National Fire Prevention Week ever since, does a great job of helping young and old people alike to understand the important steps in fire safety. Sparky has an important job because, on average, seven people die in home fires every day.
The NFPA website is rich with resources related to fire safety, including a quiz you can take to measure your level of knowledge about best practices for home fire safety. Twice a year, for instance, every family should discuss what to do in the event of a fire and that every room should “Have 2 ways out!” Even if you think that you know what to do in case of a fire, it never hurts to learn more! Please Visit the Official Site for Tons of Great Information about Fire Prevention
Enjoy These 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.
Be Rabbit Ready
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Have an Escape Plan
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Get Low and Go
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Use Smoke Alarms
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37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110