This time every year — at least for the past 99 years — firefighters have been calling attention to fire prevention.
The National Fire Prevention Association started the effort in 1922. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention week to coincide with Oct. 9.
Coolidge — or those who lobbied for a national observance — chose the week of Oct. 9 in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire, which started on Oct. 8, 1871.
The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 people homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land, according to the Fire Prevention Association.
Ketchikan has had its share of fires — the most notorious in the 1950s and 1960s when a pyromanic and Ketchikan Volunteer Fire Department lieutenant burned down much of the downtown on several occasions. He eventually went to prison for his crimes.
The idea this week is to take time to prevent potential fires.
The best way to prevent a fire — or injuries if one does start in a home or business — is to be prepared. The Prevention Association suggests planning escape routes, testing fire alarms (changing batteries routinely in both fire alarms and in carbon monoxide detectors), practicing fire drills and being sure all occupants know where to meet outside if forced to flee a burning building.
Particularly, educate children in the way of preventing and escaping in case of fire.
Fire prevention is the topic of the week. We should all address it.