The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored Fire Prevention Week since 1922 during the week of October 9th. This is because October 9th commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925, which started a tradition of future Presidents signing a proclamation during subsequent years.

Each year, Fire Prevention Week focuses on a critical theme of fire prevention that fire departments, schools, government agencies, and fire protection companies use to educate communities. These interactive education campaigns utilize media and materials of all kinds to bring the fire prevention message to people of all ages.

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can make all the difference in escaping safely from a fire and preventing innocent lives from ending in tragedy. That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.

The 2017 Fire Prevention Week education campaign stresses how important it is to:

  • Draw a map of your home or business, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your residence or business, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your building is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

You can find materials and resources for Fire Prevention Week, such as videos, maps, curricula, flyers, and more online at the NFPA website. Be sure to mark your calendar for October 8th – October 14th!