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Worst Fire in American History Basis for Fire Prevention Week

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The Peshtigo fire was the worst fire in American history

Drawing from Peshtigo Fire courtesy of the Wisconsin Electronic Reader.

Two fires started on the same date: October 8, 1871. The best-known of two fires is the Chicago Fire, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned 2,000 acres.

That was nothing compared to the Peshtigo Fire—by far the most devastating fire in American history. It roared through northeast Wisconsin burning 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and burning 1.2 million acres.

Fire Prevention Week was created on the 40th anniversary of these fires, not to celebrate, but to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

 

Half of Home Fire Deaths Occur While People Sleep

fire prevention week - check your fire alarm

Only one in five home fires are between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., yet half of home fire deaths occur during this time when most people are asleep. Thus the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2015, is “Hear the Beep where you Sleep”. It is a campaign to make sure there are working smoke alarms in every bedroom.

Home fires kill an average of eight people every day in the United States. Sixty percent of home fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms.

 

Fall Is San Diego’s Peak Fire Season

Though house fires and wildfires can occur any time during the year, there is a peak for the wildfire season in San Diego County.  It is late September, October and into November.  While northern California and the northwest have seen major fires so far this season, we are just coming into our peak season.  If a wildfire threatens your neighborhood and you need to evacuate, do you know what to do?

CalFire has created an informative brochure and checklists to help you prepare, including emergency checklists, creating a wildfire action plan, assembling an emergency supply kit, and developing a family communication plan. Click here to view the fire safety checklists. 

 

Remember the six “P’s”

Keep these six “P’s” ready in case immediate evacuation is required:

  • People and pets
  • Papers, phone numbers, & important documents
  • Prescriptions, vitamins, & eyeglasses
  • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabelia
  • Personal computer hard drive and disks
  • “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash.