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Fire Prevention Week turns 100 years old

by Garrett Fuller | October 12, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Democrat photo/Garrett Fuller — Sparky the Fire Dog, a mascot designed to help children learn about fire prevention, hands out candy Sept. 17, 2022, during the Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival in California.

A United States tradition has saved lives for a century.

This year, Fire Prevention Week turns 100 years old. The annual event, held in remembrance of one of the worst fires in American history, is designed to inform people about fire prevention and how to survive a fire.

Fire Chief Brad Friedmeyer, of the California Fire Department, said his department has hosted prevention week programming for 10-15 years.

"It gets the message out there and gets people thinking about (fire safety)," he said.

For this year, Friedmeyer said his department will be visiting the local elementary school and daycare facilities to discuss fire safety.

"We're going to talk to (children) about making escape plans and then practicing them," he said.

On a national level, fire departments will be celebrating this year's prevention week by doing similar programming. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), who sponsors the week, has produced a variety of informational materials to inform people (including children) about fire safety.

According to NFPA's "Sparky" website, Sparky the Fire Dog -- a mascot designed to make learning about fire safety more palatable for children -- was introduced in 1951. Since, the personified dalmatian has visited countless schools, daycares and other events to teach children about fire prevention.

However, the week goes beyond teaching children. According to NFPA's Fire Prevention Week website, it was created in 1922 when the association sponsored its public observance. In 1925, Fire Protection Week became nationally observed.

It is held during the week of Oct. 9 in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire, which ignited Oct. 8, 1871. The blaze burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed more than 17,400 structures, according to the protection week website. The fire killed more than 250 people.

For more information about Fire Protection Week, visit

For activities and information for children, visit

See also:

Fire Prevention Weeks reminds people to think ahead

Print Headline: A century of saving lives


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