Celebrating 100 years of Fire Prevention Week: ‘Fire Won’t Wait, plan your escape’

Ashleigh Goodwin /
Firefighter Christian Mendoza manages a backfire, flames lit by firefighters to burn off vegetation, while battling the Mosquito Fire in Placer County on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
AP Photo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — National Fire Prevention Week was initially established in remembrance of the great Chicago Fire of 1891 and also to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the second Sunday in October. 

Jesse Garner, the leader of the Montgomery Estates/Cold Creek Trail Firewise USA neighborhood said, “The National Fire Prevention Association will celebrate 100 years of Fire Prevention Week next week. Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”

Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center. 

Garner planned an event to mark the beginning of Fire Prevention Week on Sunday, Oct. 9, to provide free information and resource materials to the community. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Denny’s Restaurant.

On this day local Firewise organized communities, including Montgomery Estates/Cold Creek Trail, join together with local agencies to provide educational materials. 

Evacuation planning information will be provided by the American Red Cross and information regarding evacuating with pets will be provided by Truckee – Tahoe Humane Society.  

“A homeowner within a recognized Firewise Site and having a defensible space inspection certificate may ask their home insurer for a wildfire mitigation credit,” Garner said. “We’ve experienced amounts of $130 to $285 savings each year in our neighborhood. Over our whole neighborhood of 245 homes, that’s a good bit of savings.”

The benefits of becoming a firewise community have been reported to positively impact a homeowners’ bottom line while providing an organized and proactive approach to mitigating wildfire risk. 

Garner said, “There are five pieces to a Firewise application: (1) minimum of eight households have to agree to organize (that’s a committee w/a leader); (2) provide (GPS lat/long) location, a site name and a general description of the site/community (map); (3) complete a survey of general home construction types within the site; (4) establish a CRA with local fire department; and (5) create a 3-year action plan explaining the site’s goals for living-with-fire improvements.  Then someone has to fill out the online application at and (in California) coordinate the application with a Cal Fire liaison (currently Chief Shane Vargas).” 

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