Fire Prevention Week is recognized each year on the anniversary of the “Great Chicago Fire” which began October 8, 1871. By the time this fire was extinguished – more than 250 were killed, 100,000 people were left homeless and 17,400 structures were destroyed with over 200 acres burned.  Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed nationwide to raise public awareness about the dangers of fire and how to prevent it.

Fire is the fourth leading cause of accidental injuries in the United States. A residential fire occurs every 84 seconds in this country, and once burning, the size of a fire can double every 30 seconds. Take the time to think about these numbers. Fire safety is something you practiced in school – now you may be living on your own, in your own home, an apartment in a private residence or a multi-family apartment. You are now completely responsible for you and your family’s own wellbeing.

This year’s theme, “Have 2 Ways Out” reminds us to always look for 2 ways out no matter where we are.  Whether it be in the basement, attic or our bedroom or somewhere else, always know 2 Ways Out.

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Staying in a hotel?  Take a minute to note where the exits are located.  Shopping downtown in a local store? What are your 2 Ways Out?

Commit a minute to think about fire safety where you are living now and what you can do to prevent it.

Last year nearly 3400 people died as a result of fire in the United States, that’s more than nine people each day of the year. Do your part to help reduce that number.

Parents along with their children are encouraged to complete a home fire safety inspection, putting this year’s theme, “Have 2 Ways Out” to the test.

This time of year is a good time to check the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Discuss with your loved ones what to do if there is a fire or emergency in your home. Practice exit drills in your home or apartment, so everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.

If living in a multi-family apartment, make sure you can hear the smoke detectors or fire alarm when the door is shut. If you live in an apartment, have your building’s management install smoke detectors and make sure they are maintained and tested regularly.

Here are some common hazards to avoid:                                                                                                                    

  • Overloaded outlets by using multiple plug extenders or extension cords.
  • Worn or frayed electrical wires and cords on appliances, tools, lamps, etc.
  • Electrical wires or extension cords under carpets or heavy items.
  • “Bunched-up” electrical cords behind hot appliances. Leaving appliances plugged in when not using them.
  • “Tacking up” extension cord with staples or pins.
  • Using candles in your bedroom or unattended area of the apartment or home.      

A home fire safety checklist is available at the Summit Fire Department, or on the official Fire Prevention Week web site at

The members of the Summit Fire Department are always available to assist you in any way we can.