History of Fire Prevention
Fire Prevention Week was created as a result of the Great Fire of Chicago that occurred on October 8th, 1971. This fire burned for over two days, killed more than 250 people, destroyed over 17,000 buildings, and burned over 2000 acres. Almost 50 years later, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation. Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has taken place during the week of October 9th and is said to be the longest running safety message on record. What is also very interesting about this day in history, which most people are not aware of, is that another devastating fire occurred the very same day in northeastern Wisconsin. The Peshtigo Fire burned over 1 million acres, destroyed of 16 towns, killed over 1100 people, and is considered the most devastating forest fire in American history.
The Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA) is the oldest membership section of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). This group decided that there was a better way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. Instead of celebrating with parties and festivities, they aspired to create a way to help keep the public educated about the importance of fire prevention. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first Fire Prevention Week in 1925 and ever since that year, every President of the United States has signed a proclamation dedicating the Saturday through Sunday containing October 9th as Fire Prevention Week. Along with the United States, Canada also recognizes and participates in Fire Prevention Week every year.
Fire Prevention Week gives fire department personnel all across North America not only the opportunity to talk about what they do, but more importantly a chance to educate people of all ages about the real dangers of fire and how to prevent them from unnecessarily occurring.
Importance of Fire Prevention
Why is fire prevention so important? Simply put, fire safety education saves lives. More than all natural and man-made disasters combined, fire causes more destruction and dollar loss than any other catastrophe. Whether at home, at work, or even at school, educating people about fire hazards can help prevent injuries and save buildings as long as people understand everything they need to know. Teaching and educating people about fire safety are at the very core of fire prevention programs throughout the world.
Fire Prevention at Raleigh Fire Department
The Office of the Fire Marshal provides the leadership and inspection services to help prevent fires and assure fire and life safety for the City of Raleigh and is responsible for fire prevention education and outreach services. The Office of the Fire Marshall is the enforcement, educational, and informational arm of the Raleigh Fire Department. They perform site inspections, issues permits, enforce fire codes, and coordinate pre-fire planning for buildings and facilities within the city. The division is also responsible for conducting fire investigations to determine origin and cause of all fires, and provides public fire education to the citizens of Raleigh.
The Fire Education Section is responsible for fire prevention education and outreach services. The section is composed of a Fire Prevention Coordinator who oversees all education efforts with children, schools, preschools, teachers and day care providers as well as a variety of educational and outreach efforts for the business, residential, and targeted high-risk communities.