Fire Prevention Week is on record as the longest running public health observance, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922, when the commemoration began.
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925, beginning a tradition of the President of the United States signing a proclamation recognizing the occasion. It is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 8, 1871, and did most of its damage October 9. This year, National Fire Prevention Week in Calvert County has been proclaimed the week of October 8 – 14, 2017.
The horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, located on the property of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 137 Dekoven Street on the city’s southwest side, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. Mrs. O’Leary denied this charge.
In Calvert County, over 800 fire, rescue, EMS volunteers are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of citizens and businesses, through many hours dedicated to fire prevention. Fire is a serious public safety concern and personal dwellings are where most residents are at the greatest risk from fire.
National Fire Protection Association, through research, has documented that one out of every three house fires, start in the kitchen. That makes cooking the leading cause of house fires. The preservation and continued success of Calvert County’s Volunteer Fire-Rescue-EMS Departments is in the best interest of all residents.
On October 3, 2017, the Calvert Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) presented a proclamation to the volunteer fire departments, rescue squads and EMS departments. All citizens are called upon to join in the continuing education, with the theme “Every Second Counts-Plan 2 Ways Out”, and why it is so important to have an escape plan.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon