National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6 through 12and is designed to raise awareness of fire prevention and will focus on having two ways out during a fire.
Fire prevention week began in 1920 when President Woodrow Wilson declared Oct. 9 as National Fire Prevention Day. The day was chosen because of its historic significance.
“National Fire Prevention week originated from the Great Chicago Fire, which took place Oct. 9, 1871,” said the National Fire Protection Association website. “This fire took 300 lives, left 300,000 people homeless and destroyed more than 17,500 buildings.”
Many stories circulate about the origin of the fire, but the most popular story says that Mrs. Catherine O’Leary was milking her cow, and the cow kicked over a nearby lantern setting the barn on fire. The fire quickly ignited everything around it, burning more than 2,000 acres in a little over 24 hours.
Luke Fire Emergency Services will begin the awareness week by having a parade around base and the housing area with fire trucks and Sparky the fire dog. Afterward, they will host an open house at the fire station and have free hot dogs, displays, demonstrations and games for the children.
“This year’s fire prevention week gives us the opportunity to teach and encourage fire safety in the home and work place,” said Ronald Martin, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant fire prevention chief. “This year’s theme is, ‘Have Two Ways Out.’ We are emphasizing the creation of fire escape plans for your home, and making sure you and your families plan for two different escape routes from each room in the house.”
Sparky and some firefighters will be visiting the child development center Wednesday to help the younger members of Luke’s family to understand what to do during a fire.
“Preparation is the key,” Martin said. “Sit down with everyone living in the house and draw up an escape plan. Have specific plans for adults, children, people with disabilities and house guests. Teach children to crawl when there is smoke, and feel every door for heat before opening it.”
Luke Fire Emergency Services will also be setting up displays at the commissary and the base exchange Oct. 8 through 12. They will have hands-on demonstrations, a fire extinguisher demonstration, fire vehicles on display, an information booth, visits by Sparky, a car-seat check and booster seat giveaway.
“Planning ahead could save the lives of you and your loved ones,” Martin said. “Creating a fire escape plan will prepare you and your family to get out safely and quickly in the event of a fire. Half a minute after the smoke alarm goes off an entire floor of your house could be filled with dense smoke. Preparing ahead of time with a well-planned escape route can save lives.”
To make a fire escape plan …
- Draw a map of each level of the house. Remember to clearly mark windows and doors.
- Have children help think of two ways to escape from each room.
- Ensure every door and window that leads outside opens easily.
- Have a specific plan for those in your home with disabilities.
- Everyone should practice the escape plan during the day and at night twice a year.
- Teach children to crawl when there is smoke, and feel every door for heat before opening it.