(Fire Prevention week October 6 – 12, 2019)
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless. According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting the barn, then the whole city on fire. Mrs. O’Leary denied it was her cow and some historians & journalists have their own theory of how the fire began.
On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire be observed in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.
President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in 1922 and Fire Prevention week has been observed since.
How we can better protect our property and our employees
- Avoid the accumulation of combustible materials by practicing good housekeeping.
- Use self-closing metal containers (O.S.H.A. approved) for depositing rags, waste and other combustible materials
- All oil base paints, flammables and combustibles should be properly segregated, labeled and stored.
- Avoid fueling any type of equipment while the engine is running.
- Always keep fire exits clear.
- Routinely check emergency lights and smoke alarms for proper function.
- Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
- Do not overload receptacles or outlets.
- Replace electrical cords that are cracked, damaged or loose.
- Each of your buildings should have an emergency fire and evacuation plan with adequate warning measures.
- Provide adequate fire extinguishing equipment that is annually serviced by a licensed technician.
- Provide your employees with fire safety training, including plan review and fire extinguisher use.
By Renee Hudson