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City of Bartow Fire Department Reminds Our Residents to “Practice Your Escape Plan”

October 2011- It's time for Fire Prevention Week and from October 7-13 Bartow Fire Department is joining forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to 'Practice Your Escape Plan.' During this year's fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the dangers of home fires and teaching local residents how to plan and practice escape from a home in case a fire occurs.

According to the latest NFPA research, 3,030 people died in 2005 in home fires – that’s roughly eight people every day. Being alerted to a fire and knowing what to do to escape from one are extremely important, yet only 23% of households have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan.

"Many times when we speak to residents who have experienced a fire in their home, they recall becoming confused and disoriented by the conditions and severity of the situation – but they realized they needed to get out fast,” according to the fire department. "Sometimes there are only seconds to escape, but there’s no question that having a plan in place that has been practiced saves precious time and makes survival more likely. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will prompt folks in our community to plan and practice their escape.”

Are you prepared for a fire? Although it’s difficult to prepare for the unexpected, reviewing the information below and taking action based on it to plan for a fire is strongly recommended… and don’t forget to practice your escape plan during Fire Prevention Week!

  • Install working smoke alarms on every level; and inside and outside of each sleeping area.
  • Develop a fire escape plan that identifies two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside.
  • Make sure your plan allows for any specific needs in your household. If everyone knows what to do, everyone can get out quickly.
  • Practice using the plan, at least twice a year.
  • Some studies have shown that some children and adults may not awaken to the sound of a smoke alarm; they may need help waking up.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds: Go to your closest exit, and if you run into smoke, turn and use another way out. If you must exit through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Don’t take time to pick up belongings; just get out and help others get out. Move fast but stay calm.

Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. For 85 years fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

For more information contact: City of Bartow Fire Department, 534-5044

Fire Prevention Week History

The history of National Fire Prevention Week has it roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8, 1871. This tragic conflagration killed some 300 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,000 structures. The origin of the fire has generated speculation since its occurrence, with the fact and fiction becoming blurred over the years. One popular legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the O'Leary barn on fire and starting the spectacular blaze. Another bit of trivia is that the fire spread away from the O’Leary home. Considering the amazing amount of destruction, it was very interesting that their home did not burn. How ever the massive fire began, it swiftly took its toll, burning more than 2000 acres in 27 hours.

On the same day as this fire, there had been a fire burning in the woods outside of a small town named Peshtigo, in Wisconsin, for two to three weeks. The same winds that fanned the Great Chicago Fire resulted in a huge flare up of this fire. It blew through the town of Peshtigo, burning all but one structure. It also burned a dozen other villages, killing 1,200 to 2,500 people and charring approximately 1.5 million acres.

Due to these two fires, October 8, 1871 was the single deadliest day due to fire ever in America.

President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week, October 4 - 10 1925 He noted that in the previous year some 15,000 lives were lost to fire in the United States. Calling the loss "startling", President Coolidge's proclamation stated, "This waste results from the conditions which justify a sense of shame and horror; for the greater part of it could and ought to be prevented... It is highly desirable that every effort be made to reform the conditions which have made possible so vast a destruction of the national wealth."

Thus Fire Prevention week was born. It is commemorated each year during the full week containing October the 8th. Your City of Bartow Fire Department looks forward to educating and entertaining the public with various fire prevention week activities during this time. For us, and most other departments, October is now basically Fire Prevention Month.

Mrs. O'Leary talks with children about fire preventionChildren's Program

Local children visited the Fire Department during Fire Prevention week. They practiced fire safety procedures and enjoyed a fun program.

Mrs. O’Leary {a.k.a. Time’ Parkerson} paid a visit to our fire station today to tell the kids about fire prevention week. It was allegedly her cow that started the Great Chicago Fire on 10-8-1871.

View more pictures.

Last updated: 11/28/2011 4:22:06 PM