Fire Prevention Week – What You Need to Know

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By Stuart Cook

Fire Prevention week, October 3-9 marks the 99th year that fire safety has been the subject of a national observance.  

The date of October 9th was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the “Great Chicago Fire of 1871” the conflagration which killed 250 people and destroyed 17,430 buildings at a cost of $168 million. The fire started people thinking in terms of fire prevention rather than only fire suppression. Fire Prevention Day was started by the Fire Marshals Association of North America, now a section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The day was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Fire. 

In 1922 on recommendation from the NFPA President Warren Harding extended the Fire Safety Observance to cover the entire week that includes the October 9th Anniversary date. 

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Be a partner in fire prevention and help your Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department and the Naval Air Station Federal Fire Department. 

SAFETY TIPS FROM THE FIRE STATION 

Practice EDITH – Exit Drills in the Home. Plan your escape. Draw a floor plan of your house or business. Show two ways out of each room. Have an outside meeting place, if possible, it should be in the front of your house or business. 

Practice fire drills and make them realistic by pretending escape routes are blocked by smoke or fire. 

Test doorknobs and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try an alternate way out. If it’s cool open it slowly. Slam it shut if smoke enters your room. Close doors behind you as you escape to slow the spread of fire and smoke. 

People cause many fires and people can prevent them. The choice is yours. 

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL is what you do if your clothing catches fire or if someone nearby starts to burn. Never run. Drop down at once and roll over and over again to smother the fire until it’s extinguished. 

STAY LOW AND GO is the way to exit a room filled with smoke. Crouch low because heat and smoke rises, leaving the best air near the floor. Move quickly and leave by the nearest safe exit. 

Purchase an ABC Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Kit. 

Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors once a year. 

Cook with pot handles turned in so children will not pull them down. If cooking with grease and the pan ignites, you can smother the fire by putting the lid on or a baking pan over it. Do not use water or carry the pan outside.  

Stuart Cook was a career firefighter and served as the Chief of the Fed Fire at NAS Fallon for five years.

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