This week we are celebrating Fire Prevention Week which was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. While the Great Chicago Fire is not the largest fire in American History, it did spur generations of remembrance by family and friends of those who lost their lives. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issues the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed and there is a proclamation proclaiming the national observance during the week of Sunday through Saturday when October 9th falls.
Facts About Fire
To help spread awareness I am going to share several facts about fire. Hopefully, these will help you and your family be more aware of how easy a fire can start:
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep.3 out of 5 home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- 3 out of 5 home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 267,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.
- In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 267,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.2 of every 5 home fires started in the kitchen.
- 2 of every 5 home fires started in the kitchen.Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
- Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.Portable or fixed space heaters were involved n 33% of home heating fires and 4 our of 5 home heating deaths.
- Portable or fixed space heaters were involved n 33% of home heating fires and 4 our of 5 home heating deaths.Smoking materials started an average of 18,300 smoking-material home structure fires per year during 2009-2013.
- Smoking materials started an average of 18,300 smoking-material home structure fires per year during 2009-2013.1 out of 4 fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.
- 1 out of 4 fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.During 2009-2013, candles caused 3% of home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of direct property damage from home fires.
- During 2009-2013, candles caused 3% of home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of direct property damage from home fires.
Information from American Red Cross
Billie Wolf, one of our Milford Office workers, has been volunteering at American Red Cross for 20 years. She is a volunteer on the disaster team which means she is on call Monday thru Friday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. and 24 hours on weekends. If there is a fire, flooding, tornado, or any other disaster, she receives a call and then helps victims with food, clothing, and lodgings. During her 20 years, she has also been called out for drownings, airplane crashes, and searches for a missing person.
“It makes you think when you are walking through someone’s home on what to do in the case that would be your home. Have a meeting place with your family. Keep an extra car key hidden in your vehicle or someone else’s home. Keep all personal items somewhere close by to grab and run if there is a fire. Make a copy of your Driver’s License and keep it at another family members home. Also, the American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers if you’re interested.”
– Billie Wolfe
Information that Billie provided us from the American Red Cross has several tips for people who have experienced a fire. Both physical and emotional needs should be met to help you move on from the impact of a fire. Try these steps:
- Try to return to as many of your personal and family routines as possible.
- Get rest and drink plenty of water.
- Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster.
- Focus on the positive.
- Recognize your own feelings.
- Reach out and accept help from others.
- Do something you enjoy.
- Stay connected with your family and support systems.
- Accept that recovery can take time.
If you have pets, the Red Cross recommends taking these steps to comfort them:
- Use toys, a blanket or favorite human’s unsoiled clothing to comfort pets.
- Make sure pets are fed their usual diet and have plenty of water.
- Visit your pets regularly and speak to them calmly. Take time to play with them.
For more information on disaster planning, visit the American Red Cross Cincinnati Chapter’s website.
Sources: After the Fire & Picking Up the Pieces – American Red Cross Pamphlet, National Fire Protection Association
American Heritage Insurance Group is an independent property and casualty insurance agency offering personal lines insurance, commercial lines insurance for small and medium sized businesses, farm insurance, and several specialty lines. We have offices located in Cincinnati, Milford, and Springfield, Ohio.