Tag Archives: home fires

Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out [Fire Prevention Week]

Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14, 2017) has been commemorated since 1922, making it the longest running public health observance in the U.S. The week always includes the date of October 9, in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire that destroyed more than 17,400 structures, left 100,000 homeless, and killed 250.

While legend has it that “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” started the blaze by knocking over a lantern in a barn, a Chicago Tribune reporter later admitted that he had made the story up. The real origin of the fire is still unknown, although there are a number of theories, including a meteorite.

Few fires today, if any, are started by careless bovine or falling space debris. Cooking equipment is by far the most common culprit, followed by heating equipment, electrical faults, intentional fires and smoking.

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With Memorial Day almost here and summer just around the corner, chances are you’ll be firing up your outdoor grill soon (if you haven’t already!). In fact, May is National Barbecue Month so there’s no excuse not to break out the charcoal or flip that igniter!

Although humans have been cooking food over an open flame since practically the day after fire was invented, it wasn’t until the 1940s that it caught on in the U.S. as a backyard fun-omena. Early open-air cooking was a challenge, though, as the only grills available at the time – brazier grills – weren’t designed for consistency or safety. Continue reading