Environmental Health & Safety
201 Carter Drive, Suite 100
West Chester, PA 19383
Fax: (610) 436-3464
Fire prevention week is observed in early October of each year as a way to remember the devastation caused by the Great Chicago Fire of October 8-9, 1871. The significance of this event was that more than 250 people lost their lives and more than 17,000 structures were destroyed before the blaze could be controlled. Sadly, all of this destruction could have been prevented.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters in the U.S. responded to an estimated 10,500 building fires per year on average for the past five years. These fires have resulted in 12 deaths and 300 injuries annually. Each year more than 1,300 of these fires occur in residential buildings at educational institutions. Some of the main causes of fires on campus include cooking, smoking and use of open flames such as candles. Many fires are preventable and everyone can play a role in helping to reduce the risk of fire. Avoid leaving open flames and cooking food unattended. Make sure that smoke detectors are operating properly and become aware of at least two means of escape from your building. Practice your escape plans regularly. Learn how to operate a fire extinguisher and call 911 immediately when smoke or flames is visible. Also take time this week to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving their communities and protecting their neighborhoods from fire. For additional information on fire prevention week or general fire safety information go to www.nfpa.org.