In addition, Fire Prevention Week will be observed Oct. 6-12. It is held to mark the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Hundreds of people were killed in the blaze which destroyed about 4 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 actually begin in September with the annual fire safety poster contest. School children in Bradley County and across Tennessee are encouraged to create posters based on this year’s National Fire Prevention Theme. All entries must have the following on the back of the poster: Child’s name, child’s complete home address, child’s home phone, grade, school’s name, teacher’s name, fire department’s name, fire department’s address, fire department’s phone number and fire department’s contact person.
All entries must be submitted to the homeroom teachers by Sept. 20. Homeroom teachers must select a winner from their class and deliver it to the school’s principal by Sept. 27. Principals will select one winner for each grade, K-12, by Oct. 2, and then forward the winning posters to their sponsoring fire department(s), who may display them during Fire Prevention Week. Then, for statewide judging, fire departments must have their winning posters submitted to the State Fire Marshal’s Office no later than Nov. 29
Additional information regarding the poster contest can be obtained from the Bradley County and Cleveland fire departments.
The poster contest is open to all students in grades K-12. One statewide winner will be chosen from each grade. One winner will also be chosen by the commissioner of Commerce and Insurance as the Commissioner’s Choice. This will give us a total of 14 winners this year. Posters must be the original work of the student and must follow the National Fire Protection Association’s annual theme, which for this campaign is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”
Fire safety and prevention is serious business, with 68 fire-related deaths reported so far in Tennessee in 2013. Property loss to fires through the month of August amounts to more than $134.9 million. Firefighters across the state have responded to 4,483 structure fires and 120,747 rescue calls. Fifty-five (55) firefighters have been injured in the line of duty.
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 County Fire-Rescue Chief Troy Maney, 2 of every 5 home fires start in the kitchen, and cooking is the leading cause of residential fires in Tennessee. They are also the No. 1 cause of home-fire injuries.
Using fire prevention week as a launching pad, the chief and his personnel 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 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. They are our greatest ambassadors for fire safety and another reason I say … Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.
If you would like more information about Fire Prevention Week or about Bradley County Fire-Rescue, please contact Chief Troy Maney or county arson investigator Donnie Sullivan at 728-7293.