Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW™) campaign, “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™,” works to educate everyone [home and work] about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking.
- Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires in both residential and non-residential (work) categories (2021 National estimates).
- Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2017-2019): While portable heater fires in residential buildings were only 3% of all heating fires in residential buildings, their consequences were substantial, accounting for 41% of fatal heating fires in residential buildings. Many of these fires were preventable, as human error was a contributing factor to the fire.
- Men are more likely to die (Male 62.3% and Female 37.7%) and be injured (Male 59.6% and Female 40.4%) in fires.
- Smoking fires cause nearly 1 in 4 home fire deaths. Smoking materials start 1 in 20 home structure fires.
- Despite a drop in the number of fires, the rate of fire-caused fatalities has remained steady, partly due to modern building trends like open spaces, the increased use of synthetic materials and lightweight wood construction, all of which cause fires to spread more quickly.
- You used to have 7 to 8 minutes to leave your home after you heard the smoke alarm. Now, you have 1 or 2 minutes from the time the alarm sounds.