Today marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Month 2017, an extension of Fire Prevention Week (October 8 – 14 this year), launched in 2000 by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to spread the word about a particular aspect of fire safety and/or prevention. This year’s theme of “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” highlights the importance of having an escape plan (and practicing it regularly!) to get you and your family out of the house in the event of a fire.
Fire Prevention Month dates back to the great Chicago fire of 1871 (www.greatchicagofire.org) that killed more than 250 people and left more than 100,000 homeless. The fire, which reportedly started in a barn, also burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed ~17,400 structures. The three-day fire, which began October 8, did most of its damage on October 9, 1871…which is why Fire Prevention Week is always held around that date. The first National Fire Prevention Day was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922. The week-long observance is the longest running public safety and health campaign on record.
The NFPA reports that half of home fire deaths result from fires between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.; only one in five fires that occurred during these hours was actually reported. Additionally,
just one-third of Americans have developed AND practiced an escape plan. In addition to developing that plan and practicing it, having working smoke alarms can help; they cut the risk of dying in a house fire by half.
So we challenge you to do two things this month: First, make an escape plan and practice it together, regularly! And second, check your smoke alarms and make sure they are in good condition, with working batteries and not older than their 10-year lifespan. If you need help, just call us at (512) 974-0299 and we’ll be happy to assist.
The Austin Fire Department was founded on September 25, 1857 and is now the 16th largest fire department in the country, with 46 fire stations located throughout the city and more than 1,100 employees.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701