The 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2022. Since 1922, this event has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. It is an opportunity to alert and educate the public as to the importance of fire safety and each citizen’s role in fire prevention. Originally, it was a one-day event celebrated on October 9, 1911 on the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire by the group known today as the International Fire Marshals Association. It is held to commemorate firefighters and to advance fire prevention awareness. The observance was extended to a week in a proclamation by President Calvin Coolidge in 1922 and is the longest running public health and safety event on record. Every President of the United States, since 1925, has signed a proclamation declaring a national observance during this week. The 2022 theme is “Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape”. Home fires continue to pose a threat. The place where people feel safest is actually the most deadly as 74% of all U.S. fires occur in homes. Homes burn faster and hotter than previously and one may have as little as two minutes from the time an alarm sounds to escape safely.
Smoke alarms save lives. The chance of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half by having a functioning smoke alarm. The majority of fires occur at night and many believe that they will be awakened by the smell of smoke. However, poisonous gases and smoke can numb the senses and cause a deeper sleep. An alarm can alert occupants to the presence of a fire and allow for an escape. Install smoke alarms on every level and in every sleeping room. Test the alarms each month and change the batteries when daylight savings time occurs.
Each family should have a home escape plan. This includes properly installed and maintained smoke alarms, two ways out of each room, doors and windows that open easily, a meeting place a safe distance outside the home and a designated person to aid children, older adults and those with disabilities to awaken and leave the home, closing doors as they leave. The plan should be practiced regularly during the day and at night so everyone knows what to do. Then, in case of smoke, go low and get out fast. Never go back for people, pets or possessions. Call 911 from a cell or neighbor’s phone. When away from home and inside a building, look for exits. Immediately leave the area, if an alarm system sounds.
In conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, Orange Fire Marshal James Vincent has announced that the 2022 Connecticut Fire Prevention Poster Contest, a statewide competition for fourth and fifth graders has begun. The contest is a cooperative effort of elementary school teachers and the sponsors: Connecticut Fire Marshals Association, Office of The State Fire Marshal, Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, Connecticut Board of Education, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and Connecticut FAIR Plan (representing the insurance industry). The theme is “Fire Prevention – Everyone/Everyday”. A winning poster will be chosen from each county and that student will receive a cash award of $150.00. Posters will be exhibited in locations throughout Connecticut, including the State Capitol. From these, one poster will be chosen to be reproduced and distributed as Connecticut’s 2023 Fire Prevention Poster. The statewide winner will be awarded an additional $750.00 and his or her school will receive $500.00. A luncheon, where the state winner is announced, will be held for county winners, parents, teachers, principals, local fire marshals and other guests. Fire safety education is important as a means of preventing injuries, death and economic loss. The contest brings awareness to children, who are a valuable link in the chain of communication; taking information home to the family and suggesting ways to reduce damage and prevent fires. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office would like to thank the students, administrators and teachers from the Peck Place, Race Brook and Turkey Hill schools for their support and participation.
For any questions regarding fire safety, assistance with changing batteries in existing smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, or help when installing a battery powered detector, please contact the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-891-4711 Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or visit the website at www.orangefiremarshal.com.