Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire. On the 40th anniversary (1911) of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America; the oldest membership section of the National Fire Protection Association, sponsored the first National Fire Prevention Day, deciding to observe the anniversary as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. This was expanded to Fire Prevention Week in 1922.
During Fire Prevention Week, we honor our brave firefighters and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every day and reaffirm the importance of fire safety and preparedness. This week, I call on all Americans to educate themselves about fire prevention and safety and recommit to taking the necessary steps to prevent fires. Whether you are in your own home or camping in one of America’s majestic National Parks, taking the proper precautions and safety measures can help prevent fires and save your life and the lives of your family and others while protecting our natural wonders.” wrote United States President Joseph R. Biden JR. in this year’s proclamation on fire prevention dated October 1, 2021.
The first national Fire Prevention Day proclamation was issued by President Woodroow Wilson in 1920. When President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4–10, 1925, he noted that in the previous year some 15,000 lives were lost to fire in the United States. Calling the loss "startling", Coolidge's proclamation stated: "This waste results from the conditions which justify a sense of shame and horror; for the greater part of it could and ought to be prevented... It is highly desirable that every effort be made to reform the conditions which have made possible so vast a destruction of the national wealth".
The non-profit NFPA, which has officially sponsored Fire Prevention Week since its inception, selects the annual theme for Fire Prevention Week.
"The observance of Fire Prevention Week is an important reminder for all of us of the ways we can prevent fires and the actions to take in the event of a fire. This year's focus, learning the sounds of fire safety, heightens our understanding of the different sounds and alarms that alert us to take the appropriate action to keep everyone safe." Said Lt. Col. Andrew P. Aswell, Garrison Commander of Fort A.P. Hill.
Fort A.P. Hill’s Fire Chief Thomas E. Acacia summed the week up, “In today’s environment of reduced funding and staffing, fire prevention takes an even more important role in protecting our workforce. Fire Prevention Week is an excellent time for all to think about ways they can protect themselves, coworkers and family by doing simple things such as changing batteries in smoke detectors."