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Fire Prevention Week runs from October 9-15, 2011. This year’s theme is Protect Your Family from Fire.

“Fire Prevention Week should not be just one week per year, it needs to be a mindset, a way of life for us all 365 days a year”, says Fire Prevention Officer Ken Sheridan.

Norfolk County Fire & Rescue Services has many programs and initiatives to help our citizens be safer in their home, school and place of employment.

“We visit every school in Norfolk County at least once a year speaking with children in JK through grade three. We also have a teen program for high school aged kids. We have seniors programs and conduct dozens of fire safety talks and demonstrations through the year. We created a website www.befiresafe.ca

specifically for children with many activities and things to do to learn more about fire prevention. Also, we conduct a county-wide home fire escape drill during fire prevention week”, added Fire Chief Terry Dicks.  

Things to know:

  • The leading cause of residential fires in Ontario is unattended cooking. Prevent these fires by staying in the kitchen when cooking.
  • It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. The fire department also recommends installing a smoke alarm in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms every month and change the batteries at least once a year or whenever the low‑battery warning chirps.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan with your family so that everyone knows what do if a fire occurs

Norfolk County Fire & Rescue Services will once again be at the Norfolk County Fair which starts October 4th and runs through October 10th. There will be live fire sprinkler demonstrations each day as well as a unique education centre in the Commercial Building.

The History of Fire Prevention Week

According to legend, one fateful day, Mrs. O’Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the O’Leary barn on fire. The fire then quickly spread to the neighbours and surrounding buildings and then across the city of Chicago. From then on, October 9, 1871 would become known as the date of the Great Chicago Fire.

The massive fire lasted 27 hours and took a terrible toll, killing some 300 people, leaving 100,000 homeless, and destroying more than 17,000 buildings. The “Burn District” was an area four miles long and about three-quarters of a mile wide. The city of Chicago remained so hot that it was two days before residents could even start to survey the physical damage. One hundred thousand Chicagoans lost their homes.

Less well known is the Canadian House of Parliament Fire of 1916. On February 3, a small fire started in the parliament building Parliamentary Reading Room, where the Centre Block’s Hall of Honour is now located. Fire reduced all but the north-west wing and the Library to a charred shell.

For the Americans, the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire became a way to remind people of the importance of fire prevention. The first Fire Prevention Day took place in the United States in 1911. Canadians followed suit and declared their first Fire Prevention Day in 1919. By 1922, National Fire Prevention Week became a campaign to educate the public on fire safety throughout North America. And every year since, on the week of October 9, communities throughout Canada and the United States join their local fire departments for National Fire Prevention Week activities to remember that prevention is the best way to fight a fire.

Important Fire Prevention Week Dates
October 9, 1871: Great Chicago Fire
October 9, 1911: First Fire Prevention Day observed
February 3, 1916: House of Parliament fire – Ottawa
October 1916: First Canadian Fire Prevention Day proclaimed in Ontario
May 1919: Canadian and American officials agree to observe October 9 as common date for Fire Prevention Day
October 8-14, 1922: First National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week
October 7-13, 1923: First Canadian Fire Prevention Week
October 8, 1977: Fire Service Recognition Day to be commemorated annually on Saturday, ending Fire Prevention Week




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