SPRINGFIELD, OH (Oct. 4, 2019) — Fire Prevention Week is Oct 6-12, a public health observance to raise fire safety awareness.
The occasion is observed annually during the week of Oct. 9, the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“Promoting fire prevention and safety education is an enormous part of the work we do every day,” said Springfield Fire Rescue Division Chief Brian Miller. “This week, we’ll join a national push to raise awareness about ways to stay safe from fire in your home.”
Having an escape plan is a critical part of fire safety because of how quickly a fire can spread, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA):
- Fire is fast ─ In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill your home. Fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only a short time to escape.
- Fire is hot ─ Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. If you inhale this super-hot air, it will scorch your lungs.
- Fire is dark ─ Fire starts bright, but quickly makes black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around your home.
- Fire is deadly ─ Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.
According to the USFA, fire escape plans include:
- Make a fire escape plan. Draw a map of each level of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the map with everyone who lives with you.
- Plan two ways out of every room. Choose an outside meeting place in front of your home.
- Make a fire escape plan around your abilities. If you need to use a wheelchair or a cane, make sure you can get to it easily and get out quickly. If you wear hearing aids or eyeglasses, put them next to your bed while you are sleeping.
- Make sure all doors and windows open easily.
- Practice your fire escape plan by having a home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the home.
- If there is a fire in your home, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people, pets or things.
For more information about fire prevention and safety, go to usfa.fema.gov/.