GREAT FALLS – Fire Prevention Week is here and Great Falls Fire Rescue wants to remind people to look, listen, and learn.
In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week. Great Falls Fire Marshall Dirk Johnson said the history goes back to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
“The rumor is that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over the lantern, though they are really not sure. They know that it started at her residence,” Johnson said.
The fire burned 17,000 residences and killed 250 people. Fire Prevention Week is always held during the week of October 9 in honor of the Great Chicago Fire’s anniversary.
Each year, firefighters promote a different theme during the week and this year it is “look, listen and learn.”
“What it means is they want you to look at potential fire hazards in your house like unsafe candles or something too close to your water heater or furnace. They want you to listen by knowing what a smoke detector sounds like so if a fire does occur, they want you to understand it’s the fire alarm going off and you have a meeting place. The learn is to make sure you have two ways out of your home,” Johnson said.
Johnson also said it’s a great time for people to check smoke alarms to ensure they are in working order.
Fire Prevention Week is also a great way for firefighters to get out in their community to meet with residents.
“It really highlights that it is good that we are in the community, for the community. Through fire prevention, that is a way that we can outreach to the community to show we are here. Also that we are one call away from saving a life or protecting property and that is why we are here,” Johnson said.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News