October is National Fire Prevention Month, with National Fire Prevention Week running from October 6-12, 2019. During this week, this month, and all year long, the American Red urges people to practice their fire escape plans and test their smoke alarms in order to prevent home fire tragedies.

The goal of National Fire Prevention Month (and Week) is to raise awareness about fire safety. Fire departments and other community organizations like the Red Cross take extra efforts during this time to educate their communities and encourage parents and children alike to practice fire safety throughout the year.

Fire Prevention Week is on record as the longest running public health observance, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925, beginning a tradition of the President of the United States signing a proclamation recognizing the occasion. It is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 8, 1871, and did most of its damage on October 9. Check out the National Fire Protection Association website for more about the history of National Fire Prevention Week.

Home fires are the nation’s biggest disaster threat. In fact, every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster, and most of these events are home fires. Sadly, home fires take an average of seven lives each day. But many of these tragedies can be prevented by taking two simple steps:

  • Checking your smoke alarms regularly.
  • Practicing your home fire escape plan.

Home fires are most often caused by cooking and heating equipment — risks which increase during the holidays and cold weather. National Fire Prevention Month is an opportune time for families to prepare themselves before the most high-risk time of year for fires and fire-related emergencies.

Preventing and preparing for home fires can be as simple as practicing an escape plan and testing your smoke alarms, but there is even more that you can do! Follow our #FireSafetySeries all month long for tips and resources you can use to keep yourself and your loved ones safe!