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Fire Prevention Week

Map of Chicago in 1871 showing the extent of the fire.

Each year, the nation observes Fire Prevention Week on the week containing October 9th, in memory of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, which started late on October 8th and burned until the 10th. The fire started in the barn at the O'Leary home, and destroyed much of the city.

Today, the site of O’Leary’s barn, where the fire started, is the home of the Chicago Fire Department's Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy.

In honor of Fire Prevention Week, here are some tips to keep you safe.


a. About 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or with alarms that do not work. Check yours today.

b. Replace your alarms every 10 years. Even if the battery beeps, the sensor may be too old to work well.

c. Install your alarms in each bedroom and in the hallway.

d. If your alarm has a replaceable battery, install a new one every year.


a. Remember PASS

i. Pull the pin.

ii. Aim

iii. Squeeze slowly

iv. Sweep side to side

b. Only try to put out the fire yourself if you can do so

safely. Your life is more important than things.


a. Make a map of your home.

b. Name a place to meet outside your home.

c. Practice your escape from different parts

of your home.

d. Stay low.

e. Call the Fire Department AFTER you are



a. If you have a son or daughter at college, make sure they know how to get out of their dorm.

b. Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in your room.

c. Keep candles away from anything, and never leave a candle unattended.

d. Most dorm fires are started by cooking. Never leave cooking food unattended.

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