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Fire Prevention Week

October 4th through the 10th is National Fire Prevention Week. At 6:00 pm today, a short ceremony will be held at City of Yuma Fire Department Station #1 (353 South 3rd Avenue). A proclamation will be read regarding Fire Prevention Week in the City of Yuma. In addition, the Firefighter, Fire Engineer, Fire Captain, and Support Person of the Year from the City of Yuma Fire Department will be recognized. YFD will also be presenting badges for various rank advancements that have recently occurred.

The 2015 theme for Fire Prevention Week is:

“Hear the Beep Where You Sleep, Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”

- emphasizing the dramatic protection that working smoke alarms provide. To further mark this week, each day we will be highlighting a different aspect of fire prevention.

The first national recognition of a Fire Prevention Day came in 1911 on the 40th anniversary of “The Great Chicago Fire”. That fire occurred October 9, 1871. At least 250 people died, 100,000 were left homeless, more than 17,000 structures and 2000 acres burned in only 27 hours! Popular legend has it that the fire was started by a lantern kicked over by “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow”. Less known to history is “The Great Peshtigo Fire” (the most devastating forest fire in American history) raging that same week in neighboring Wisconsin. That fire would burn 2,400 square miles (1.2 million acres!), killing more than 1,100 people, completely destroying the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin and 15 other towns.

That week in October would long be remembered for its tragic losses in life and property. In 1925 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week. 90 years later, our country has grown tremendously and great efforts have been made to protect and preserve life and property, but thousands still die in fires every year in the United States. In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 369,500 home structure fires. These fires resulted in 2,755 civilian fire fatalities, 12,200 civilian injuries and $7.0 billion in damage.