History of Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week marks the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of October 8-9, 1871. That blaze, which raged for several days, claimed more than 250 lives and destroyed more than 17,400 structures. Like later major fire tragedies such as the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York (145 fatalities) and the 1942 fire in Boston's Coconut Grove nightclub, leaving 491 dead. The Chicago Fireman prompted much-needed reform by focusing public attention on fire prevention and fire safety.

In 1911, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America proclaimed the nation's first Fire Prevention Day to promote public awareness of fire safety. Fire-awareness programs and parades were held throughout America.

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge declared Fire Prevention Week an official national observance. Therefore, annually on the Sunday through Saturday period containing the October 9th anniversary of the Chicago Fire has been focused on fire-safety-awareness, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).




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