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Fire Prevention Week stresses safety


   By Tom Jaca
   Fire Marshal
   The history of Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire which occurred on Oct. 9, 1871.
   The tragic conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,000 structures and burned more than 200 acres in roughly a 24-hour period.
   While the origin of the fire has never been exactly determined, there has been much speculation over how it began.
   One popular legend is that Mrs. O'Leary was milking her cow when the animal kicked over a lamp, setting the barn on fire and igniting the blaze.
   In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, National Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the first full week of October.
   This year, Fire Prevention Week will be observed from Oct. 9 through Oct. 14, with the theme centering on "Protect Your Family from Fire."
   Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 will be participating in fire safety education programs through the month of October.
   A couple of tips to remember:
   . A working smoke detector in a home can greatly increase your chances of survival in the event of a fire in your home.
   . In the event of a fire, a simple fire escape plan developed for your family can make a difference in ensuring everyone can exit a home.
   The fire district personnel are proud to say we recognize Fire Prevention Week all year around and just not during the first full week of October.
   Several of your fire district members spend countless hours talking with kids, speaking to groups in the community and provide information in order to make you and your families safe.
   The fire district cannot do this alone. Everyone needs to help and practice fire safety year around to ensure a fire safe community.