Fire Prevention Week is observed each year to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which began Oct. 8, 1871. The horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.
The theme for this year’s campaign (Oct. 7-13) is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” It aims to educate people about three basic but essential steps to reduce the likelihood of fire –– and how to escape safely in the event of one.
Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your workspace: unauthorized heaters, hot pots and appliances not in a common break area. Worn cords on electrical appliances and equipment can create sparks and untidy work areas full of papers and overloaded electrical outlets can also pose a hazard.
Listen for the smoke alarm. Follow all directions over the public address system; you could have only minutes to escape. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the work area where everyone knows to meet. Ensure those with mobility issues have help in the evacuation.
Learn two ways out of every room. Do you know your workplace fire evacuation plan? Make sure all doors and windows with outside access open easily and are free of clutter. Your local safety and fire warden representatives maintain fire evacuation plans and coordinate the fire drills. The fire department and safety office regularly visits work areas to complete fire drills and spot inspections.
Across the Defense Logistics Agency, installation fire departments will have fire prevention and safety events throughout Fire Prevention Week; look for emails and local articles highlighting when your area is having an event. For more information and tools to assist with your prevention planning, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s Safety Tip Sheets page.