By Craig Davis
The campaign lasts the entire month of October, but most fire departments designate the second week of the month as Fire Prevention Week. Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Prevention Month has roots that date back to The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left more than 100,000 homeless.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. 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.
Southern California is certainly no stranger to wild fires. Awareandprepare.org suggests the Ready, Set, Go approach to help prepare you in the event of a wild fire.
READY- Be Ready, Be Firewise.
Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place. Plan escape routes and make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
SET- Situational Awareness.
Pack your emergency items. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media, your local fire department and public safety.
GO- Act Early!
Follow your personal wildland fire action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month is the theme for 2014. According to the latest NFPA research, working smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a fire in half. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign includes the following smoke alarm messages:
ü Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home.
ü Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
ü Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
ü Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
ü Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.