It all started on October 9, 1911, when the Fire Prevention Day was inaugurated. The date of October 9 was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the "Great Chicago Fire of 1871" -- the disaster that killed 250 people and destroyed 17,430 buildings at a cost of $168 million, and the fire that started people thinking in terms of fire prevention rather than only firefighting. Fire Prevention Day was begun by the Fire Marshals Association of North America, now part of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The day was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on the 40th anniversary of the Chicago blaze.
In 1992, on recommendation of a member of the NFPA and unanimous vote of the membership at the association's annual meeting that year, the fire safety observance was extended to cover the entire week that includes the October 9 anniversary date. President Warren Harding was the first to officially proclaim National Fire Prevention Week.
NFPA continues to be the international sponsor of Fre Prevention Week, which is always the Sunday-through-Saturday period during which the October 9 anniversary date falls.
Support your local fire company in its efforts to promote fire safety education in your community year 'round and during Fire Prevention Week.