Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire which occurred on October 8, 1871. On the 40th anniversary (1911) of the Great Chicago Fire the first National Fire Prevention Day was celebrated as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.
In support of National Fire Prevention Week, Governor John Kitzhaber has proclaimed
October 7 - 13 Oregon Fire Prevention Week. The Governor and State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace encourage Oregonians to take the necessary steps to protect their families from fire by having, and practicing, a home escape plan.
The Office of State Fire Marshal and fire agencies statewide are teaming up in support of October's national Fire Prevention Week campaign, Have 2 Ways Out.
"Fire safety always begins at home, and this year's Fire Prevention Week theme is a great time to refocus on knowing two ways out of every building," said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace. "It's not just having two ways out of your bedroom at home. The larger message is to always notice your two or more ways out throughout your life at work, in businesses, restaurants, hotel rooms and other locations. Families should also be sure to develop a home escape plan and practice it."
In 2011 in Oregon, there were 4,527 fires in residential properties resulting in 30 deaths, 169 injuries, and more than $64 million in property loss.
Make a home fire escape plan today:
* Draw a map of your home showing doors and windows.
* Show two ways out of each room.
* Make sure young children, older adults, and people with disabilities can get out.
* Agree on a meeting place outside (a safe visible area where firefighters can locate you).
* Never go back in for people, pets, or personal belongings.
* Practice your plan at least twice every year during the day and night.
Download a free home fire escape map from the OSFM website at: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/docs/Escape.pdf.
Working smoke alarms provide an early warning, allowing you vital minutes to escape, increasing your chances of surviving a fire. Additional fire safety tips:
* To ensure maximum protection, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
* Replace smoke alarms 10 years old or older.
* Hard-wired alarms (those wired directly into home electrical systems) should have battery back-ups.
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* If your smoke alarm sounds, immediately go outside and stay out. Meet at a safe place and call 9-1-1.
* If you need assistance with smoke alarms, contact your local fire agency.
For more smoke alarm and fire safety information, contact your local fire agency or visit: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/CommEd_SA_Program.shtml.
Home fire sprinklers are also a great idea. If you are building your own home or remodeling, consider the life saving benefits of home fire sprinklers.
* Home fire sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
* Installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 82%, compared to having neither.
* In the event of a fire, only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates; sprinklers use a fraction of the water used by fire departments.
For more information on home fire sprinklers visit the OSFM website at: http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/Comm_Ed_Sprinkler_Information.shtml.
Fire Prevention Week is observed annually throughout North America and Europe, acknowledging the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire that destroyed a large part of the city and killed 250 people on October 9, 1871. For more information on fire safety and Fire Prevention Week, contact your local fire agency or visit http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/pages/fpw_2012.aspx.
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925. In his National address he noted that in the previous year some 15,000 lives were lost to fire in the United States. Calling the loss "startling", Coolidge's proclamation stated: "This waste results from the conditions which justify a sense of shame and horror; for the greater part of it could and ought to be prevented... It is highly desirable that every effort be made to reform the conditions which have made possible so vast a destruction of the national wealth".