Fire Prevention Week

Posted on October 16, 2014 | in Thoughts | by

Last week was Notional Fire Prevention Week in the United States and Canada – an event we always take serious at because of the nature of what we sell; a product that has been proven to save lives during fires time after time.

National Fire Prevention Week dates back to 1922, and occurs every year during the week that includes October 9th.

The reason October 9th was picked it because it’s the date of the Great Chicago Fire – one of the greatest fires in modern history, which destroyed more than 17,000 structures in 1871, and left over 100,000 people homeless.


The Great Chicago Fire is perhaps the biggest example of something that happens every day – one thoughtless, seemingly inconsequential act that can result in a devastating fire.

For decades, the Chicago Fire was blamed on one of “Mrs. O’Leary’s cows” knocking over a lantern, starting a fire in her milking barn. Today, historians suspect it was actually lit in similar circumstances to many of today’s fires – perhaps by a couple of neighborhood boys smoking cigarettes in the barn, and leaving a butt smoldering.

In any event, the week is recognized across North America as a time to address common causes of fires, and how to prevent them. It’s also a time to check up on your own fire safety gear, which might make the difference between life and death if a blaze starts off in your home.

Good places to start are by checking that your fire alarms are in good working order. Many people think fire alarms are kind of annoyance – especially when they chirp because of a low battery warning. However, these silent little guardians save thousands of lives a year; and every October you should check and replace the batteries to make sure they work when you need them too.

In your kitchen, you should also make sure you have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket – and check that they’re ready for action. Fire extinguishers have a pressure gauge on the side, which should indicate that the extinguisher is full and ready to be used. Be sure to replace any faulty extinguishers, or one that’s been used.

Finally, it’s important to check the rest of your house for potential fire hazards. Chief amongst these is to make sure your fire escapes and means of egress are easily accessible. A means of egress is simply an alternative exit to your home; and one that has been proven to save lives in the event of a fire.

It’s national building code to have a means of egress in your basement, like one of the basement window wells and egress windows that we sell. Because basements are often the first place deadly smoke accumulates, they can quickly become deathtraps if the main stairs or exits are blocked. A basement window well offers an escape route for people trapped downstairs, and a way for firefighters to enter your building during a blaze.

Make sure that your egress windows are easily accessible, and function properly. If they’re connected to a basement window well, make sure it’s not blocked or covered, so in the event of a fire people can use it to escape the building quickly and safely.

And if you haven’t yet installed an egress window in your basement? Please check out our FAQs and products and make sure you consider doing so. It’s something we recommend during Fire Prevention Week that could save lives at any time during the year.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week, check out the National Fire Prevention Association webpage here.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Jeff. I will be using this space to share my thoughts and opinions that I have accumulated over many years in the building industry. My hope is to also teach and inspire.

This will also be a location for important industry news and product information. Featured items and sales can also be found here. Subscribe, or check back often to keep up to date on what is happening in the world of Egress Windows.

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Jeff Ommundsen
(229) 234-7377
President of Shop Egress Windows, Inc.