Fire Prevention Week was started by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Fire Prevention Week teaches children and adults how to stay safe in the event of a fire. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week to occur from October 4 – 10, 1925. Fire Prevention Week is now celebrated very year during the week of October 9th and is the longest public health observance in our country.
The Great Chicago Fire burned between October 8 -10, 1871 with most of the damage done on October 9th. The fire caused roughly $200 million in damages, killing around 300 people, and destroying over 17,000 buildings and structures. The consequences were more than just fire damage itself, as martial law had to be declared after an outbreak of looting and lawlessness. The fire was said to have started when a cow kicked over a lantern in the O’Leary barn in the southwest side of the city. Fortunately, in 1997, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution exonerating Catherine O’Leary, as well as her cow. Today, the Chicago Fire Department Training Academy is located on the site of the O’Leary property where the fire started.
The theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, 2023, is “Cooking safety starts with YOU! Pay attention to fire prevention”. According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half, 49%, of all home fires involving cooking equipment; cooking is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and related deaths. In addition, NFPA data shows cooking is the only major cause of fire that resulted in more fires and fire deaths in 2014-2018 than in 1980-1984. Source: Virginia Department of Fire Programs
Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department will be holding their annual Fall Open House on Sunday, October 15th from Noon-4 p.m. at Station 6. Click here for more information about the event. This event is FREE and is open to the public.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week, including safety tips and videos, please visit the NFPA website.