Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. It was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire which began on October 8, 1871, but did most of its damage on October 9, killing more than 250 people, leaving 100,000 homeless, destroying 17,400 structures and burning more than 2,000 acres. On that same day, the most devastating forest fire in American history roared through Northeast Wisconsin. The Peshtigo Fire burned down 16 towns and 1.2 million acres, killing 1,152 people. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during the week in which October 9 falls every year since 1925.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was established in 1896 with a mission to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

This week, October 5-11, is The 2014 NFPA Fire Prevention Week theme is: “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.”

Did you know that many people don’t test their smoke alarms as often as they should? When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast!

  • Almost three of five (60%) of reported home fire deaths in 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • You need working smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Test yours every month.
  • Fast facts about fire.


Smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a fire. To help identify and evaluate fire dangers at your business, contact your risk control rep.

-Frank Norton