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October 8, 1871 is the evening when the Great Chicago Fire started and continued to burn until the fire burned itself out two days later. Every year we celebrate Fire Prevention Week in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire. President Calvin Coolidge, in 1925, proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest running public health observance in the USA. This horrific fire killed an estimated 350 people, left more than 100,000 people homeless, destroyed over 17,500 structures, and burned approximately 3.3 square miles. The cost of the Chicago Fire equaled $222 Million Dollars in damages; today those damages would cost between 4 and 5 Billion Dollars. In addition to leaving 1 out of 3 people homeless, the Chicago Fire destroyed 73 miles of roads, 120 miles of sidewalks, and over 2000 lampposts.
Though we still have fires, the fires today are not as catastrophic. Fire Prevention is the cornerstone on which we build a safer community. Through continued fire inspections, fire investigations, fire and building codes and standards, we strive to make our communities a fire-safe environment.
Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. PLAN and PRACTICE your ESCAPE!
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Be the HERO in your family, prepare and practice your fire escape plan for home. This simple plan could save your life and the lives of everyone you love. A home escape plan includes checking your smoke detectors and making sure you have them in each bedroom, near every sleeping area, and on every level of your house. Make sure you have 2-ways out of every room; usually a door and a window. Have a place outside where everyone will meet. Once you’re out, STAY out. Never go back into a burning building.
If you wake up in lots of smoke, remember to get low so you don’t choke, roll to the floor and check the door. Use the back of your hand to check for heat, get to the place where you planned to meet, stay low and go. Be the hero in your family; Plan, Practice, Escape (PPE).