Skip to content

Firefighters are essential to the safety and security of our local communities. We owe it to these men and women to provide them with better training and equipment so they can do their jobs more effectively and safely.

Carl Levin

Fires can be powerful and dangerous, especially when lives are at stake. Most rely on their firefighters, those who volunteer to risk their lives every day to save people and stop the fires from spreading. However, most would not know how to prevent fires or protect themselves in the case of a fire happening. That’s where Fire Prevention Week comes in.

History of Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, a fire that devastated the city of Chicago by burning down over 1,000 buildings, leaving over 100,000 homeless and 300 killed in October of 1871. The story that everyone tells of the Great Chicago Fire is that “Mrs. O’ Reily’s cow kicked over the lantern” and that’s what started the fire. Although the fire was started in that area, historians aren’t sure that how it began. However, what they do know is that the Great Chicago Fire kept spreading because the firefighters could not control the embers blowing in the wind. All of the building during that time were made of wood, the city was suffering a massive drought, and many of the firefighters were drained of resources due to previous fires weeks before.

Thus, in 1922, the National Fire Protection Association, which began in 1896 as a response to these fires, sponsored Fire Prevention Week as a way to prevent events like this from happening. President Calvin Coolidge then proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance in 1925, officially declaring it a national holiday. Today, because of the event, Chicago has strict guidelines on how buildings are built and how roads are expanded and given maintenance. Fire Prevention Week thus is taught and observed in schools all over the country, especially for younger children, so that way they can be able to handle what to do when a fire starts.

How to celebrate Fire Prevention Week

Want to learn how to prevent fires and protect your home. Head on over to the NFPA main website to watch educational videos and other resources about the history of this holiday, what you can do in your home to prevent fires, and learn more about how to help others in your community. Share this holiday on your favorite social media platforms using the hashtag #firepreventionweek and let everyone know that this is a week all about learning and protecting people from the dangers of fires.

Also on ...

View all holidays
View all holidays