This is a public service announcement from your friendly, neighborhood fire-chick!
October 4 - 10, 2009 is Fire Prevention Week. I thought I would share some information about this year's theme, and also give you some handy links, as I know some of you are homeschool mamas. Others of you may simply want to share this with your families, if it is not being included in your child's school. And some of you may just want to read this because it makes good sense to be prepared.
Fire Prevention Week was established to honor and remember the "Great Chicago Fire of 1871." This is the same fire that, according to legend, started because Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern, which caught the barn on fire, which caught the city on fire. While this is not entirely true, 250 people died, and thousands were left homeless. Over 17,000 structures and over 2000 acres were burnt. The fire began in the night on October 8th, but did most of its damage on October 9th. Fire Prevention Week always falls around those two dates.
Some other interesting facts about fires...
In 2008, US Fire Departments responded to almost 400,000 home fires.
Every 81 seconds, a fire department in our country is responding to a fire.
Two-thirds of all home fires are in homes with either a malfunctioning fire alarm or none at all.
Cooking continues to be the leading cause of all home fires.
This year's theme is "Stay Smart: Don't get burned" and focuses on ways you and your family can keep from being burned in a fire.
For example, does your family have a home escape plan? Did you know you need at least two ways to get out of your house? Do your kids know how to get out of their room if they can't leave by the bedroom door?
Do you put all hot foods in the center of the table so they can't be pulled off by little hands?
Do you check the temperature of the bath or shower water?
Are lit candles out of reach of little hands?
Do you allow food cooked from the microwave time to cool before serving it?
Are all smoke alarms are tested by an adult each month...and work every time?
Is there a smoke alarm on every level of your home (and in every bedroom?)
Do your children know what the alarm sounds like, so they would recognize it in the middle of the night?
Visit the Fire Prevention Week website here. On the left side there is a link for teachers, or for kids and families. And those of you who homeschool (or teach in a regular school) will see the lessons are split by age and grade level. There are some pictures you can print off and color as well as helpful sheets for planning an escape plan.
As always, I'm not trying to scare anyone, but it's always better to be prepared! Our department, thankfully, doesn't have to go to too many house fires, but when we do, you can bet that those people weren't expecting their home to go up in flames either.