Fire Prevention-Fire Safety-Disaster Preparedness
The Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department provides free home inspections, classes in the use of portable fire extinguishers and we will provide a fire safety class to your organization.
In addition firefighters visit our local schools to teach fire prevention to students. The fire department also hosts an annual fire prevention poster contest. All posters submitted by the students are displayed at the Gatesville Fire Department open house during Fire Prevention Week. The winning posters locally are then submitted to the district level. If the poster wins at the district level, then they are sent to the state fire convention held in June of each year.
For Poster Contest Rules click on the link at the bottom of the page.
The History of Fire Prevention Week
The Great Chicago Fire
On Oct. 9, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire started. This tragic fire killed some 300 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed more than 17,000 structures. One popular legend claims that Mrs. Catherine O'Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, set the O'Leary's barn on fire and started the fiery conflagration. The city of Chicago was fast to rebuild and soon began to remember the event with festivities.
The Fire Marshals Association of North America believed the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should be observed in a way that would keep the public aware of the importance of fire prevention. On Oct. 9, 1911, FMANA sponsored the first National Prevention Day.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first national Fire Prevention Day proclamation. By 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week, which was Oct. 4-10, 1925. He noted that in the previous year approximately 15,000 lives had been lost to fire in the United States. President Coolidge's proclamation stated, "This waste results from conditions that justify a sense of shame and horror; for the greater part of it could and ought to be prevented.... It is highly desirable that every effort be made to reform the conditions that have made possible so vast a destruction of the national wealth."
National Fire Prevention Week is always the week in which Oct. 9 falls. Each year, a specific theme is chosen and is commemorated throughout the United States.
In a disaster, local officials and relief workers cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may not arrive for hours or days. You and your family -- and don't forget to include the needs of those with disabilities -- need to be prepared ahead of time because you won't have time to shop or search for the supplies you will need when a disaster strikes.
Most disasters are natural disasters, the result of some force of nature, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Some natural disasters can be predicted, such as hurricanes and severe winter storms, while others, such as tornadoes and earthquakes, happen with little or no warning.
Some disasters are the cause of human actions, intentional or unintentional. A disaster plan will help with safety, security, and comfort.
Regardless of the type of disaster, there are things you can do to prepare. Contact your local Red Cross chapter, visit the FEMA Web site, or Ready.gov to make sure you are aware of the potential for natural disasters in your community. After you have identified the types of disasters that could strike where you live, create a family disaster plan that can apply to any type of disaster – natural, unintentional, or intentional.
Prepare an emergency supplies kit
Disaster can occur suddenly and without warning. They can be frightening for adults, but they are traumatic for children if they don't know what to do when these events occur. Children depend on daily routines. When an emergency disturbs their routine, children can become nervous. In an emergency, they'll look to parents or other adults to help.
How parents react to an emergency gives children an indication on how to act. They see their parents' fear as proof that the danger is real. A parent's response during this time may have a long-term impact. Including children in the family's recovery plans will help them feel that their life will return to normal.
Families should prepare an emergency supplies kit and develop a plan. Practice your plan so that everyone will remember what to do in an emergency. Everyone in the home, including children, should play a part in the family's response and recovery efforts. Remember: make the plan simple so everyone can remember the details
Causes of Fire
Some of the leading causes of fires along with some interesting facts are listed below.www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2007 NFPA."
"Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week Web site,
• A 2004 U.S. telephone survey found that 96% of the households surveyed had at least one smoke alarm.
• The death rate per 100 reported fires is twice as high in homes without working smoke alarms (1.13) compared to homes with working smoke alarms (0.55).
• When smoke alarms fail it is most often because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries.
• Sixty-five percent of reported home fire deaths in 2000-2004 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
• No smoke alarms were present in 43% of the home fire deaths.
• An estimated 890 lives could be save each year if all homes had working smoke alarms.
• In 2005, U.S. fire departments responded to 381,000 home fires. These fires caused 3,030 deaths, 13,300 injuries and $6.7 billion in direct damage.
• On average, every three hours someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire. In Canada, someone is fatally injured in a residential fire roughly every 32 hours.
• Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2005, 13 home fires killed five or more people. These 13 fires resulted in 80 deaths.
• Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
• More than half of all home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. But only twenty percent of home fires occur between those hours.
• Although children five and under make up about 7% of the country's population, they accounted for 12% of the home fire deaths, assigning them a risk almost twice that of an average person.
• Older adults are also at greater risk of dying in a home fire than the population at large. Adults 65 and older face a risk twice the average person, while people 85 and older have a risk that is a little over four times that of the average person.
• December and January were the peak months for reported home fires and home fire deaths.
• Home fires, fire deaths and fire injuries are more common on Saturday and Sunday
• Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
• Three in 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home.
• Frying is the leading type of activity associated with cooking fires.
• More than half of all cooking fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves.
• Two out of three reported home cooking fires start with the range or stove.
• Electric ranges or stoves have a higher risk of fires, injuries and property damage, compared to gas ranges or stoves, but gas ranges or stoves have a higher risk of fire deaths.
• Home fires peak around the dinner hour between 6:00 and 7:00 PM.
• Candle fires account for an estimated 4% of all reported home fires.
• During 2000-2004, an estimated 16,400 home structure fires were started by candles. These fires resulted in an estimated 200 civilian deaths, 1,680 civilian injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $450 million. Forty percent of U.S. home candle fires begin in the bedroom, causing 35% of the deaths resulting from these fires.
• More than half of all candle fires that occurred between 2000 and 2004 started because a candle was left too close to combustible materials.
• Lack of electrical power was a factor in 1/3 of fatal home candle fires.
• Falling asleep was a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 25% of the home candle fire deaths.
• Fourteen percent of the home candle fires that occurred between 2000 and 2004 took place in December, almost twice the monthly average. That's because candle fires often involve combustible seasonal decorations that wouldn't have been present at other times of the year.
• Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths and the third leading cause of civilian fire injuries in the U.S.
• In 2003, smoking materials started an estimated 25,600 reported home structure fires in the U.S. . These fires caused 760 civilian deaths and 1,520 civilian injuries.
• The most common material first ignited in home smoking-material fire deaths were mattresses and bedding, upholstered furniture, and floor covering.
• Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults.