Observing Fire Prevention Day

National Fire Protection Association, Fire Prevention, Fire Hazards Image credit: National Fire Protection Association

“HEAR THE BEEP WHERE YOU SLEEP: EVERY BEDROOM NEEDS A WORKING SMOKE ALARM”

Today is Fire Prevention Day. Held annually on October 9th, it commemorates the Great Chicago Fire (a conflagration that burned from October 8-10, 1871) that killed hundreds and destroyed about 3.3 square miles in Chicago, Illinois.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. In 1893, Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who wrote the O’Leary account, admitted he had made it up as colorful copy. The barn was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but the official report could not determine the exact cause.

Fire Prevention Day, FiremanBecause fires can happen when people are sleeping, having working smoke alarms in bedrooms is a critical element of home fire safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy. Carli notes that three out of every five U.S. home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. “Smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a fire by alerting people in time to escape safely, but they need to be installed in all the required locations, including all bedrooms, and they need to be working.”

According to NFPA statistics, half of all U.S. home fire deaths occur at night between the hours of 11:00 pm and 7:00 am, when people are most likely to be sleeping. Having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half. These facts underscore the extreme importance of having working smoke alarms in all bedrooms. Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1, 2015, so be sure to change those batteries in your smoke detectors as you change your clocks.

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