Fire Prevention History
The history of Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago fire, which occurred on October 9, 1871. This tragic conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres in 27 hours. While the origin on the fire has never been determined, there has been much speculation over how it began. One popular legend was that Mrs. Catherine O’Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the O’Leary’s barn on fire and starting the spectacular blaze. This was proven untrue a few years ago by Chicago historian Robert Cromie.
On the Great Chicago Fire’s 40th anniversary, the former Fire Marshals Association of North American (now the International Fire Marshals Association, or IFMA) sponsored the first National Fire Prevention Day, advocating an annual observation as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, National Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday-through-Saturday period in which October 9 falls. In addition, the President of the United States has signed a proclamation pronouncing a national observance during that week every year since 1925.
Back to Top
Candles and Fire
During 2002, there were an estimated 18,000 home fires started by candles. These fires resulted in an estimated 130 civilian deaths; 1,250 civilian injuries; $333 million estimated direct property loss; and included one- and two-family dwellings, apartments and manufactured housing.
Where did these fires start?
How did these fires start?
Falling asleep was a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 25% of the home candle fire deaths.
Remember that a candle is an open flame and can easily ignite any combustible nearby.
Candle Safety Tips
Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Most cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of common household items (e.g., food or grease, cabinets, wall coverings, paper or plastic bags, curtains, etc.).
In 2001, there were 117,100 reported home structure fires associated with cooking equipment. These fires resulted in:
Electric vs. Gas?
If a small fire starts in a pan on the stove:
If there is an oven fire:
If there is a microwave fire:
Back to Top
Fire Drills in the Home (aka: Exit Drills in the Home – E.D.I.T.H.)
You and your family can survive a fire in your home
– IF –
you plan and practice your escape.
Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as 2 minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning – a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has PRACTICED.
One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
Building your home escape plan - pull together everyone in your household and make the plan.
Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. Escape Plan
Practicing your escape plan.
In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building.
One of the most important things you can do to be prepared for an emergency in your home is to make sure your Street Number is Clearly Visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home. This will help when the minutes count.
If windows or doors in your home have Security Bars, make sure that the bars have quick-release mechanisms inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Quick-release mechanisms won’t compromise your security – but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
Tell Guests or Visitors to your home about your family’s fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people’s homes, ask about their escape plan. If they do not have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend “sleepovers” at friends’ homes.
Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.
Once you’re out, STAY OUT !
Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building.
If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call.
Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
Fire Escape Planning for Seniors
Knowing what to do in case of a fire is particularly important for older adults.
Keep it low.
Sound the alarm.
Do the drill.
Keep a telephone nearby, along with emergency phone numbers so that you can communicate with emergency personnel if you are trapped in your room by fire or smoke.
Back to Top
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a very dangerous gas that people cannot see, taste, or smell, and for these reasons is known as the “Silent Killer.” It is made from incomplete burning of materials such as gasoline, charcoal and wood. It comes from kerosene or propane, space heaters, furnaces, gas ovens or range tops, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, gasoline-powered engines, charcoal grills, and fireplace/chimneys. Too much CO in your blood can kill you. Carbon Monoxide is sometimes called “the Great Imitator.” When carbon monoxide gas gets into your system it creates a poison causing your body to react with minor flu-like symptoms, making it hard to tell if you actually have the flu or CO poisoning. For this reason it is very important to have a CO detector installed in your home.
Facts & Figures:
Symptoms of CO Poisoning:
CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
The concentration of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm) is a determining factor in the symptoms for an average, healthy adult.
Safety Tips in the Home:
Safety Tips Outside the Home:
If Your CO Alarm Sounds:
Emergency Lights and Sirens – What To Do When They Approach
When you hear sirens approach as you are driving, it is important to remember to yield the right of way to all emergency vehicles. Drivers of emergency vehicles are thoroughly trained and tested, and are taught to first drive with regard for the safety of others. Their intent is never to force other drivers off the road. Generally, emergency drivers will move to the left, since obviously other drivers are supposed to move right. Sometimes, due to traffic conditions, they may have to travel in opposing lanes. This is why it is so important for drivers to respect response vehicles by moving out of the way and stopping. That will provide the space needed and ideally give an escape route if something goes wrong. The following is an outline of what you should and should not do when you see emergency lights and hear sirens approaching.
Things You SHOULD Do:
Things You SHOULD NOT Do:
Although lightning is one of the most magnificent natural phenomena, it kills or injures hundreds of people every year mainly because the victims are not aware of the danger they face. Most deaths from lightning can be prevented.
What is lightning?
For additional information, check out these Web sites:
The Electrical Safety Foundation International
National Weather Service
Back to Top
City of Carrollton, 1945 E. Jackson Road, Carrollton, Texas 75006 | Tel: (972) 466-3000 | Site Map
The City of Carrollton, Texas is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Thank you for visiting the City of Carrollton, Texas website.