Chief's Corner

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

A Spotlight on Innovative Fire Prevention and Safety Programs

Fire Prevention Week 2009

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Kelvin J. Cochran, U.S. Fire Administrator

Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week. USFA is hosting a fire safety fair today at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, DC and fire departments across the county are conducting events throughout the week.

It is at this time of year we commemorate that tragic event that occurred on October 9, 1871. That event was the Great Chicago Fire which killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire actually started the day before but did most of the damage on October 9th. Each year the week in which October 9th occurs is declared Fire Prevention Week.

Even with modern technology, advances in firefighting techniques and ongoing public education programs, fire departments in this country must respond to approximately 400,000 residential fires resulting in more than 3,000 deaths. A great number of these fires and deaths may have been prevented with a few easy steps.

Careless smoking, space heaters placed too close to flammables, children playing with matches or lighters, and overloaded electrical outlets or extension cords are frequent causes of home fires. However, the most common cause of home fires are activities related to cooking and these fires also cause the highest number of fire related injuries.

There are a few simple steps that will help prevent a fire from starting when cooking in the home:

Most importantly, stay alert! You won’t be if you are sleepy, drinking alcohol, or taking medicine that makes you drowsy.

Working smoke alarms are key tools in helping to save lives and preventing injuries if a fire should start in the home. Take time to properly install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home.

We have a great deal of information available on our Website related to each of the common causes of residential fire, smoke alarms, residential sprinklers, and home escape plans. Please share this information with your loved ones and take time to talk with them to ensure you lower the risk of a home fire.

Previous Chief's Corner Entries
4/14/14
Lessons Learned from a Significant Life Event
9/18/13
A Parent's Homework
8/8/13
2013 International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue International Conference
7/24/13
Roadway Risk
6/13/13
International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week
5/15/13
EMS Week 2013 – One Mission One Team
5/3/13
Reflecting on the 40th Anniversary of America Burning
2/11/13
The Etiquette of Being a Fire Chief (by Glenn Gaines, published on the Mu+ual Aid Blog)
1/3/13
The Roles of Fire and EMS Personnel in Armed Attacks
10/26/12
Keeping Kids Safe This Halloween
5/17/12
USFA's Initiatives in EMS
1/9/12
Resolutions for the New Year: Firefighter Health and Wellness
12/1/11
Where We Have Been and Where We Are Today
10/6/11
Not for Prime Time
9/6/11
Tribute to September 11th Heroes
7/26/11
Firefighter Safety in Extreme Heat
6/17/11
The U.S. Fire Administration's Research Program – Science Saving Lives
5/17/11
USFA - Your Partner in EMS
3/24/11
Triangle Shirtwaist Fire 100th Anniversary
2/10/11
African American History Month: A Celebration of Pioneers in the American Fire Service
11/03/10
Fighting Fire through Fire Prevention
10/06/10
Fire Prevention Week
3/11/10
Time to Check Your Smoke Alarms
2/09/10
Hard Times
12/02/09
Reflecting on Tragedy: The Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. Fire
10/6/09
Fire Prevention Week 2009
10/1/09
Smoking Related Fire Fatalities and Fire-Safe Cigarettes
8/4/09
Novelty and Toylike Lighters
6/4/09
U.S. Fire Administrator Issues Statement Supporting Residential Fire Sprinklers, Code Changes

Links of Interest