Open house, presentation at school are events for fire prevention week locally


The National Fire Protection Association established Fire Prevention Week to memorialize the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – a blaze that burned more than 2,000 acres over the course of two days, took more than 250 lives and left 100,000 homeless.

At the same time the Peshtigo fire blazed through 16 towns in northeast Wisconsin, killing 1,152 and burning 1.2 million acres.

In 1911 the Fire Marshals Association of North America, known today as the International Fire Marshals Association, chose the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire to inform the public of the importance of fire prevention.

That commemoration became more official with each passing year and in 1920 President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, which became Fire Prevention Week two years later.

Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center. As the President has signed a proclamation each year since 1925.

Themes for the week include “Today Every Fire Helps Hitler” (1942) to “Don’t Let Fire Lick You” (1950), and “EDITH, Exit Drills in the Home” (1981).

This year, the theme is “Hear the Beep Where you Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” This theme, as with many in the past decade focuses on the importance of smoke/heat detection in each bedroom.

In the past fire prevention themes highlight the dangers of playing with matches and lighters, but it also teaches youngsters the importance of thinking ahead, knowing what to do it a fire starts, and planning an escape if necessary.

Each year Kimball volunteer firemen show elementary students how the fire trucks and equipment work. They also talk about the importance of fire safety, smoke detectors and escape plans.

According to Kimball Fire Chief Rick Wynne, the fire prevention team spent Wednesday with grade school students before hosting an open house the same night at the fire hall.

“We give them presentations about playing with fire; show them our bunker gear and air pack so they won’t be scared, and we teach them to get to a window in case of a fire,” he said.


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