In addition, Fire Prevention Week will be observed Oct. 7-13 and is held to mark the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Hundreds of people were killed in the blaze which destroyed about four square miles of the city. The fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century and sparked the beginning of fire safety standards in the U.S.
Activities for Fire Prevention Week will begin with the annual fire safety poster contest. All school children in Bradley County and across Tennessee are encouraged to create posters based on the national fire prevention theme of the year, “Have 2 Ways Out.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), many people underestimate how fast fire spreads so they don't take escape planning seriously. The results can be tragic.
In 2010, a home fire was reported every 85 seconds, killing 2,640 people and injuring 13,350. Firefighters know that when fire strikes, a home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes. Therefore, they will be using Fire Prevention Week, and activities such as the Poster Contest, to promote public awareness of fire prevention and fire safety.
Children interested in entering the poster contest are encouraged to use the “Have 2 Ways Out” theme and highlight escape planning. Posters can be dropped off at any time between now and Oct. 13 at the firehall on Tasso Road at North Lee Highway or the BCFR headquarters at 260 Inman St. The posters will be judged on a local level and the winning posters from each participating community will go to the State Fire Marshall’s Office for judging. A state winner for each grade level (K-12) will be chosen during the statewide judging held in December. All winners and their families will be invited to attend a state awards banquet held in February 2013. Information regarding the poster contest can be obtained from the Bradley County and Cleveland Fire departments.
Fire safety and prevention are serious business with 43 fire-related deaths reported so far in Tennessee in 2012. Property loss to fires through the month of August amounts to more than $141.6 million. Firefighters across the state have responded to 5,665 structure fires and 114,476 rescue calls. These statistics help us understand the urgency of fire prevention education and awareness.
BCFR and the CFD are committed to protecting the safety of our citizens and their property through fire prevention, education, codes enforcement, regulation, investigation and law enforcement.
According to Bradley Fire Rescue Chief Dewey Woody, most home fires start in the kitchen and are also the number one cause of home fire injuries. Using Fire Prevention Week as a launching pad, Chief Woody and his staff will be engaged in fire prevention programs and education at every Bradley County elementary school. The purpose is to reinforce important safety messages with our school children, teach them how to respond in the event of a home fire, as well as provide them with important safety tips — from candle caution to how to cool a burn.
I applaud all of our Bradley County and Cleveland firefighters for taking the initiative to reach our children at such a young age with this important fire safety message.
Our community is blessed with two outstanding professional fire departments. There are 732 fire departments in Tennessee and both the BCFR and CFD are consistently ranked among the best in the state. They, along with EMA, EMS and law enforcement personnel, are our heroes and role models. We depend on them to promote important messages that keep our friends, family and neighbors safe. They are willing to risk their lives to protect us and I encourage all of you to express your gratitude to a firefighter this week. Let them know they are our greatest ambassadors for fire safety.
If you would like more information about Fire Prevention Week or about the Bradley County Fire Rescue Department, please contact Chief Dewey Woody at 728-7293 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chief Woody and his staff are also available to speak to groups about fire safety.