October is FIRE SAFETY Awareness Month
The National Fire prevention week is the week of October in which October 9th falls in order to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of October 9, 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. The fire left such devastation and chaos in Chicago that it forced the United States Government to take another look at how fire prevention and fire management was being viewed and handled amongst its citizens. In the years following, the Fire Marshalls Association of North America took great pains to make sure that the fire was not forgotten first by having annual festivals but later decided the best way to commemorate the Anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire was to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. The commemoration grew over the years and in 1920 President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Every year a “Theme” for the week is chosen by the International Fire Marshall’s Association and this year’s theme is “It’s Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family From Fire!” The National Fire Protection Association publishes a complete list of themes that have been used over the years on their website.
Despite all of these prevention efforts there were still 369,500 home structure fires in 2010 according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires caused 13,350 injuries, 2,640 deaths and $6.9 billion dollars worth of damage. These statistics show it is important for us to have a plan of action in the event we do have a fire as well as prevention. More importantly, these statistics demonstrate how important it is to engage your family in good maintenance practices like those contained within this program. Many of these fires could have been avoided had the people who lived in the homes been subscribers at www.maintenanceguru.com.
TOP TEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT A HOUSE FIRE
1) Always make sure smoke detectors are installed on each level of your home, in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
2) Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and kitchens are the most common place for a fire to begin (watch for upcoming training video at Toltek Services web site).
· Never leave cooking unattended (inside or outside).
· Wear clothes with short, roll-up, or tight-fitting sleeves.
· For each pot or pan you use, have its lid out to cover it.
· Keep the cooking areas clear of combustibles.
· Turn pot and pan handles inward on the stove so they can’t be bumped.
· Keep small children away from the cooking area while in use.
· Inspect your gas stoves and grills regularly.
3) Keep matches, lighters and all flammables out of the reach of small children.
4) Keep space heaters 3 feet away from anything – remember space heaters need “space”
5) Know how to use a fire extinguisher and know where they are located in your home (watch for upcoming training video at Toltek Services web site).
6) Keep gasoline and other flammables outside and away from your home
7) Store fireworks safely in your home.
8) Clean your clothes dryer vent.
9) Never use an oven, range or open flame such as a barbeque grill to heat your home.
10) Have an Exit Plan and review your plan at least twice a year with your family.