The destruction fires cause can be devastating to cities, businesses, and families. In 1871 The Great Chicago Fire took place on October 8th-9th; killing 250 people, destroying more than 17,400 structures, leaving 100,000 people homeless, and burning more than 2,000 acres. The impact of the fire was so widespread amongst the population that it brought fire safety to the forefront of the public mind. Afterward, community initiatives started making fire safety a topic of concern to avoid reliving a horrific history.

On the 40th Anniversary of the great fire, the International Fire Marshals Association decided to spread the importance of fire prevention across the whole country. As the popularity of this yearly public service announcement grew, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in 1920. Every president since 1925 has since then signed a proclamation continuing this important safety day.

Today we celebrate fire safety all week long, with National Fire Prevention Week from Sunday through Saturday during the week October 9th falls. This week-long event is the longest running public health and safety event on record.

In the 1800s, fires could easily demolish a whole city. Today, we educate the public on fire safety and have changed our building materials to limit the spread of fires. To keep your community and school children excited about learning about fire prevention and how to stay safe, follow our fire safety activity hot list.

Fire Department Open House

Fire Prevention Week is an ideal time for fire departments to open their doors to the public. They can invite schools and families in for a tour of the firehouse and their trucks. During this time, they can teach the public

  • To change your fire detector every 10 years
  • To replace their fire detector batteries every 6 months
  • It’s best to have a fire and smoke detector combo
  • What to expect if they are being saved from a second floor or higher
  • Why it’s important not to use fire hydrants for summer, water recreation
  • To never return to a burning building, for any reason
  • That a fire extinguisher should easily be accessible where they will be needed
  • That the fire department can recharge their fire extinguishers

Fire Safety Practice for Kids

It’s important to reiterate to kids each year what they need to do in an emergency. National Fire Prevention Week is a perfect time to do just that. Fire departments, schools, libraries and post offices can host activities for kids to practice fire safety.

Crawl Under Smoke Safely

Heat rises and that is no different in a fire. The heat of a fire at floor level can be 100 degrees and the air at eye level can easily reach 600 degrees and burn your lungs. That is why it’s important to learn to crawl as low to the floor as you can.

To make practicing this crawling technique fun for kids, bring out a large rectangular blanket or sheet. Have the children grab onto the sides of the fabric and rapidly move it up and down, while another child practices a low crawl underneath it. The blanket will simulate the hot air and smoke above them that they should avoid being near while they practice the low crawl.

Stop, Drop & Roll

It’s also important to teach kids not to panic in an emergency situation and to be able to think. If their clothes happen to catch fire they need to know how to smother it. Have the children practice stop, drop, and roll. Also, bring out a blanket for this exercise. Wrapping a blanket around a child who is “on fire” while they stop, drop, and roll will smother the fire more quickly.

To continue fire prevention learning at home, give out learning devices such as fire prevention coloring books. Also, hand out prizes to children once they practice the fire safety exercises correctly. Here is a list of our favorite learning tools and prizes during National Fire Prevention Week.

Top Promotional Children’s Gifts During National Fire Prevention Week

  • Fireman Custom Rubber Duck
  • Coloring Book – Flash Teaches Fire Safety
  • Firefighter Badge Sticker
  • Fireman Drawstring Bag
  • Foam Walking Pet Dalmatian

For even more gift ideas shop our National Fire Prevention Week collection.

At Home Fire Drill

While you have the attention of children and their parents, remind them to practice their own fire drills at home. Be sure that children know two ways to get out of every room. Set a designated meeting spot far away from the house.

Once all the routes are known and the meeting location is established, it’s time to practice an in-home fire drill. Set off a fire alarm and have the kids escape the house. Since smoke can darken a house, to take it one step further, you can practice with blindfolds and feel your way through the rooms and out to safety. Fires can happen anywhere, so remind your kids to determine the fire route out of their friends’ houses, too.

Top National Fire Prevention Week Gifts for Adults

  • Jar opener in the shape of a fire helmet
  • Fireman hand sanitizer
  • Fire hydrant stress balls
  • Fireman emoticon face pens
  • Promotional pot holders.

Don’t ignore fire safety, start spreading the word today with these products! The next time you want to promote National Fire Prevention Week, just stop, drop, and roll right into ePromos!