BRYAN In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire raged through 73 miles of roads, 120 miles of sidewalk, 18,000 buildings and 2,000 acres of the city. The aftermath of the three-day blaze totaled to 125 deaths, 100,000 homeless and over $200 million in property damage.
More tragic fires followed Chicago's. In New York, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire resulted in 145 deaths, and Boston's 1942 Coconut Grove nightclub fire left 491 dead. Collectively, these incidents prompted much-needed public reform and education on fire prevention and safety.
On October 9, 1925 President Calvin Coolidge declared Fire Prevention Week a national observance, honoring the Great Chicago Fire and those who lost their lives and homes. Today, fire departments across the country continue to remember the Great Chicago Fire and promote fire prevention practices through Fire Prevention Week.
"Fire Prevention Week is an opportunity for our first responders, community leaders and citizens to come together to prevent tragedies through education," said William Bouse, Bryan Fire Department Public Information Officer.
Beginning October 6, 2013 and extending throughout October, the Bryan Fire Department will be celebrating Fire Prevention Week by administering station tours and sponsoring the annual Bryan schools fire prevention poster contest for kindergarten through 5th grade students. This year's Fire Prevention Week theme is "Prevent Kitchen Fires." According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. Fire Departments respond to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage.
"When involved in something like the Fire Prevention Week poster contest, students become passionate about their chosen poster topic, such as cooking safety or a fire escape plan," said Bouse. "That passion translates from the classroom into the home, and homes become safer because students start a conversation with their family about fire prevention."
For more information on the poster contest and how your student can participate, visit www.bryantx.gov.
To schedule your class or group for a fire station tour, please contact the Bryan Fire Department at 979.209.5960.