It was October 9, 1871. The day started out like any other for most residents, but little did they know that it was going to be hot… and dry… and windy… and that their heroic firefighters were tired and weary from yesterday’s work.
And Chicago sat… waiting like a matchbox.
One spark quickly spread from structure to structure, wagon to wagon …person to person. Embers flew through the air as far as a mile, lighting everything they touched.
Sounds like the gripping introduction to a fiction piece, doesn’t it? Does it make you feel sad? Anxious? Scared?
You can find the rest of the story below, on the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) website, or another reputable source. Just Google “Great Chicago Fire.” Yes, that is right. This isn’t the beginning of a good tale, it’s a reality… it’s our past, it’s a tragic part of our US history.
While it is a sad fact that the Great Chicago Fire is the 3rd greatest fire in US history, something good did come from the event. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed fire prevention week as a national observance. It is the longest running public health observance in our country. And why is it celebrated during the full week of October 9th each year? It’s celebrated during this time to remember the devastating Great Chicago Fire.
So how to you plan to remember the heroes and the victims of the Great Chicago Fire during Fire Prevention Week 2019?
- Are you testing working smoke alarms?
- Are you creating or practicing a fire escape plan?
- Are you purchasing safety devices such as long-like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers?
- Are you looking into a residential fire sprinkler retro-fit?
Whatever your plans, make sure to take time to talk “fire safety” with the family. Do you have small children? If so, make it fun!
- Time your fire drill. Now do it again. Can each of you make it to your meeting place a little quicker?
- Visit a local fire station and deliver cards, cookies, or other treats. Ask firefighters to explain the importance of a safe, outdoor meeting places and other important fire safety information to your children.
- Read fun and engaging fire safety stories and see if you can act them out. Looking for some suggestions? My What Should Daisy Do and Firefighters’ Busy Day are both factual, yet interactive and provide additional safety tips and activities in each!
Once your family has practiced fire safety, encourage friends and neighbors to do so.
- Have a neighborhood fire drill.
- Plan a fire safety block party.
- Visit and assist shut-ins; checking safety devices, clearing exit pathways, etc.
So, have I “sparked” any Fire Prevention Week ideas? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Need more fire safety information? If so, feel free to reach out. I can always be found on Facebook as @MJBostian or on my Pinterest page @K-Town Fire Girl.
Interested in copies of my children’s fire safety books? Today’s special for Linda’s blog readers and friends is: $12 per copy or $20 for both. This includes personalized signed copies, coloring sheets, and shipping. Email me for details @MJBostian@gmail.com with FPW BOOK OFFER in the subject line. Need multiple copies for classrooms, libraries, or fire stations? If so, please put FPW MULTIPLES in the subject line for special pricing. All orders received on Thursday will be mailed out by Saturday afternoon for use during Fire Prevention Week!
About Maria: Maria Bostian is a Montessori-trained Fire & Life Safety Educator for a NC fire department with 10 years in the classroom and 15 years of fire service experience. She began the long road to publishing in 2014 and is looking forward to the release of her injury prevention chapter book series featuring the lovable Fraidy Brady Bobcat.