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Practice fire safety in October

When: October 9-15

What: Raging wildfires in Texas consumed over 1,700 homes in September, killing four and leading some state officials to conclude that not enough resources had gone into prevention. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, fires happen in hundreds of thousands homes each year, so prevention is vital on a personal level as well as a national level. During October, take steps to prepare for and prevent fires during Fire Prevention Week, October 9 to 15.

Background: A presidential proclamation for Fire Prevention Week has been issued every year since 1925, and is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association. The date coincides with the Great Chicago Fire that occurred in 1871, killing more than 250 people and destroying over 17,400 structures across 2,000 acres.

Story Pitch: This weeklong event is ideal for those who work in fire prevention and public safety, as well as companies that manufacture and distribute fire safety equipment. Fire departments and emergency responders should focus on spreading preventative information to community members most at risk to fire, such as children and the elderly. Active demonstrations of fire extinguishers, escape plans and smoke detectors can help engage audiences and debunk myths about fires. Working with schools and community centers can yield different approaches, and coordinators should keep their audiences’ needs and risks in mind. Companies that make and service fire safety equipment can also pitch around this event by partnering with fire departments and other community institutions to spread information about the latest safety equipment and how to use it. Fire safety companies can also keep in mind a region’s specific fire risks, such as wildfires, and strive to reach overlooked groups such as businesses and colleges that need to keep large numbers of people safe.

Story Hook: Cooking and heating equipment are the leading cause of home fires. What can people do to keep their home safe from everyday dangers? Keep the following in mind when making your pitch:

  • What fire protection measures should every home have?
  • How effective and practical are home sprinkler systems?
  • What are myths about fires, and what are little known facts?
  • How should people prepare for and respond to fires in offices, college dormitories, and other buildings that house many people?

Tips: Be sure to provide contact information for a local fire department or public safety expert who can provide insight into fire safety. Anyone who has ever experienced a fire before can talk about what they did to get to out and how they now stay safe.

Resources:

Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association
(216) 241-7333
fema(at)femalifesafety.org
www.femalifesafety.org

International Association of Fire Fighters
(202) 737-8484
www.iaff.org

National Fire Protection Association
(617) 770-3000
publicaffairs(at)nfpa.org
www.nfpa.org

U.S. Fire Administration
(301) 447-1000
www.usfa.fema.gov

–Researched, compiled & written by Nicholas Testa
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