October, Cows, and NFPA

In October of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire occurred. It raged for almost two days, killing many and leaving even more without homes. There are many stories and legends about how it was started. The most famous is that of Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. The lyrics of the song many will remember from childhood.

Late last night when we were all in bed,
Old Lady Leary left a lantern in the shed.
Well a cow kicked it over, winked his eye and said:
There’s gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight!
Fire! Fire! Fire!

While those lyrics are often sung as part of a children’s song, there is no denying the damage done during those two days. October is now known as National Fire Prevention Month dating as far back as 1922. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has designated the week of October 9th as Fire Prevention Week. This date was chosen as the Chicago fire started on the night of October 8th, but did most of its damage on October 9th.

The NFPA website provides some frightening statistics about home fires including:

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with Continue Reading…