National Fire Prevention Week kicks off Monday in the state. Governor JB Pritzker proclaimed October 6 through October 12 as Fire Prevention Week in Illinois to encourage residents to learn, prepare and practice for fire emergencies. The week is also held in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire that occurred on on October 8-10, 1871. The fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the city, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. In today’s money, the fire would have cost nearly $4.6 billion dollars to repair.
The Jacksonville Fire Department is hosting an open house today from 11AM-2PM at the Municipal Building at 200 East Douglas. People will be able to tour the fire department and check out the department’s new firetrucks and see a couple of demonstrations. A Bells Across America Memorial Service, a fire dog bouncy house, station and apparatus tours, and a kids firefighter challenge course, with a free lunch today at 1PM prepared by members of the fire department kicks of the week of fire prevention awareness locally.
This year’s statewide focus is having an escape route in a fire emergency. State Fire Marshall Spokesman J.C. Fultz says discussing an escape plan with your family could be a matter of life and death. He recommends holding a family fire drill and discussing the plan regularly with small children so that everyone can get out of your home safely if a fire emergency ever occurs. Fultz recommends everyone close their bedroom doors at night to give crucial extra seconds if a fire occurs during overnight hours.
In 2018, there were over 15,500 residential fires in Illinois. Additionally, Illinois fire departments reported 105 residential civilian fire deaths, which is 89% percent of all fire deaths in the state.