Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. To educate communities on how to prevent fires and stay safe if one occurs, the National Fire Prevention Association hosts Fire Prevention Week every October.
The observance is a way for public safety officials across the country to provide life-saving public lessons to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires. The Cleburne Fire Department uses the week to educate children on how to plan, prevent and mitigate.
“We go into the elementary schools to talk about fire prevention and teach kids how to get out in case of a fire in the house,” said Cleburne fire marshal Danny Wilson. “We teach things like ‘stop, drop and roll’ and all the things you may have learned as a kid.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest-running public health observance in the U.S. The theme for the year is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of Oct. 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871 and caused devastating damage with more than 250 people losing their life.
Wilson said his department doesn’t only focus on fire prevention during the observance. Fire officials teach the children how to handle all types of emergencies.
“We teach all about how to stay safe, what you do in an emergency, how to call 911, things like that so that the kids are always prepared,” he said.
The Cleburne Fire Department conducts outreach for all age groups throughout the year. Firefighters go to the Cleburne Senior Center, Cleburne Public Library, schools and neighborhoods to teach various topics, including how to prevent falls, how to stay safe and how to make an emergency plan.
Here are some helpful tips for fire prevention:
- Plan an escape route.
- Test your smoke alarm.
- Choose an outside meeting place.
- Make a regular reminder.
- Practice home fire drills.
Learn more about educational resources on the National Fire Protection Association website.