October’s fire prevention week, reminds people of the dangers and destructive power fire holds when it burns out of control.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation. Since 1922, fire prevention week has been observed the week of Oct. 9. 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.
Established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that 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 Oct. 8 but continued into Oct. 9 when it did most of its damage.
“The theme of this year’s fire prevention week is preventing kitchen fire,” said Ronald Martin, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services assistant chief for fire prevention.”
Luke observed its first fire prevention week in 1975, according to Martin. This year Luke held events and demonstrations during the week to help Thunderbolts be more aware of how they can prevent kitchen fires.
“We had a week filled with activities and events for people to learn more about fire prevention,” he said. “A parade kicked off the week 9 a.m. Saturday. The parade was followed by an open house at the Fire Station. The fire department was also at the commissary and base exchange during the week. There were information booths, videos, fire engine tours and Sparky the fire dog along with his friends Bubba and Buddy. People came to ask questions and get tips about fire safety.”
They not only tried to help parents understand about fire safety but they also involved the little children.
“We went to the child development center to teach the children about fire safety,” Martin said. “We took Sparky the fire dog and had him interact with the little ones.”
Martin said he has a particularly profound passion for this special week.
“Fire prevention week is a time when the fire department and the community can come together for a week of fun and camaraderie,” Martin said. “Most of the time if someone has contact with a firefighter it’s because of a fire or accident. This special week is one in which we can enjoy each other’s company.”
The National Fire Prevention Agency has also put out a few safety tips for this week on dealing with and preventing fires in the kitchen.
Cook with caution:
- Be on alert! If sleepy or intoxicated don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If leaving the kitchen for even a short time, turn off the stove.
- If simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer as a reminder while cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from the stovetop.
If there is a cooking fire:
- Just get out. Close doors while leaving to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or local emergency number after leaving the area.
- If a person is trying to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and the person has a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the flame by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the stove. Leave the pan covered until cooled.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat, and keep the door closed.