October is National Fire Safety Month
October is Fire Prevention Month and is sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Fire Prevention Month actually started as National Fire Prevention Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922 and has evolved into a week or month long observance of the issues associated with Fire Safety.
The event which inspired the longest running public safety and health campaign on record was The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which started on October 8, 1871. The fire lasted for three days and killed more than 300 people and left more than 100,000 people homeless. It burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed about 17,400 structures and was reportedly started in a barn. It caused an estimated $200 million in damages and legends of its cause range from a cow kicking over a lantern in a barn to human error and even a meteor. The worst destruction occurred on October 9 and this is why the national campaign always begins around this time. An area a mile wide and four miles long were left in ruin in its aftermath. Historically, it is still one of the worst American disasters on record.
In 2000, the NFPA extended the Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October and most Fire Departments, schools, libraries and utility companies participate in spreading the word about Fire Safety and Prevention.