Fire prevention

Fire prevention is a function of many fire departments. The goal of fire prevention is to educate the public to take precautions to prevent potentially harmful fires, and be educated about surviving them. It is a proactive method of reducing emergencies and the damage caused by them. Many fire departments have a Fire Prevention Officer.

In the general sense of preventing harmful fires, many aspects are discussed in the articles Fire protection and Fire safety. National work on best practices is in the Vision 2020 program.[1]

Target audiences


Kids are the primary target of fire prevention knowledge. Firefighters will visit schools and teach students the basics of fire prevention. Workshops should be conducted in schools for educating students for the effects of fires and how to deal with it and prevent destructive fires.

Senior citizens

Seniors have been identified as an "at risk" group, especially in hazardous situations. It is important that seniors have pre-planned their escape routes and have access to emergency exits, for example.


In many jurisdictions, landlords are responsible for implementing fire prevention and fire safety measures in accordance with various laws.[2]


Fire prevention education can take the form of videos, pamphlets, and banners. Often, the messages and lessons are simple tips. Effective and important lessons and messages include:

Stop, drop and roll

If one's clothing catches on fire, the most effective method of extinguishing the fire is to stop, drop to the ground, and roll back and forth to smother the flame. Running around will simply fan the flames.

Smoke detectors

  • Working smoke detectors reduce the chances of death in a fire by half.[3]
  • Nearly 900 lives could be saved annually if every home had working smoke detectors.[3]
  • Even just one smoke detector reduces the chances of death by almost half.[4]
  • Nearly half of all fire survivors remember hearing their smoke alarm.[4]
  • Deaths due to fire have decreased by half since the invention of the smoke detector.[5]
  • Most deaths due to fire occur at night when people are sleeping.[6]

Smoke detector maintenance

  • The most common cause of smoke detector failure is missing or disconnected batteries.[3]
  • Nuisance alarms are the most common reason for deliberately disconnecting batteries.[3]
  • Missing, disconnected, or dead batteries account for 73% of smoke detector failures.[3]
  • There are more homes with no working smoke detectors than there are homes without any smoke detectors at all. There are millions of homes in each category.[4]
  • Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home.
  • Change your batteries twice a year.
  • Clean your detectors also.


Wet pipe sprinkler systems

A wet-pipe sprinkler system is an automatic sprinkler system in which the supply valves are open and the system is charged with water under supply pressure at all times. For this reason, they are the quickest at getting water on the fire and are the simplest to maintain. Wet pipe systems are installed where indoor temperatures can he maintained at or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that temperature, there is the danger of freezing pipes. If the outside temperature is below freezing and the interior temperature is less than forty degrees Fahrenheit, the steel sprinkler piping, which rapidly conducts heat and rapidly loses it, will drop below freezing. The frozen area may be isolated and near an opening or uninsulated portion of the building. It may be a small area, but it could be enough to put the whole system out of service.

Don't just leave to do something else

One of the most common reasons for fires is how people often leave stoves, ovens, toasters, clothing irons, barbecues, and candles unattended.

Firefighters are your friends

One of the most critical jobs of a firefighter is search and rescue. For young children, it is important that firefighters are seen as people they can follow and trust. A firefighter in bunker gear breathing with an air tank can be scary. One way a child can get used to or trust a firefighter is seeing a firefighter dress, step by step, seeing that it is a person inside. Furthermore, being able to walk up and touch the firefighter can reassure the child that he or she is a real person. (This has been implemented by many fire departments across the US during Fire Prevention Week.

Don't play with fire

Playing with fire causes many unnecessary emergencies, it hurts and kills many people.

False alarms kill

False alarms waste valuable manpower and resources, which may be needed desperately at a real emergency. Also, any time firefighters ride trucks, they are at risk. Eighteen percent of firefighter deaths occur while responding to calls.[7]

Fire prevention division

The Fire Prevention Division is a group of firefighters who conduct building inspections to make sure they are compliant with fire codes; they also visit schools and daycare centers to make presentations about arson, malicious false alarms, and fire safety. Fire Prevention Officers also conduct tours of their fire house for visitors. They demonstrate what each of their apparatuses does, and sometimes will don their bunker gear to show what a fire-fighter wears into a fire.

A normal fire prevention division consists of a Chief Fire Prevention Officer, below whom are Fire Prevention Officers. Those in the Fire Prevention Division have their own insignia, such as epaulets with two thin bars that read "FIRE PREVENTION OFFICER" below them; crescents on their helmets; and collar pins. Depending on its budget, a Division may have its own fire vehicle.

In Canada the national Fire Protection division is known as FIPRECAN, and is the national voice for fire protection and education in Canada. FIPRECAN is a non-profit charitable agency founded in 1976. They educate the public themselves as well as forming a partnership with fire services. David Johnston, the former Governor General of Canada, is one of the patrons.

Fire Prevention Canada primarily promotes and educates by:

  • Working with all levels of the government
  • Working with fire services to promote fire prevention week activities
  • Working with other fire prevention and safety organizations
  • Partnering with the Federal Government of Canada

On their website, many safety educational materials can be found. These forms are downloadable and printable. All of the information is free of charge. A few of the available topics are listed below.

  • Cooking precautions
  • Babysitters guide
  • Escape plan
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Smoke alarm
  • Farm safety

October 3-9 is fire protection week in Canada. Various fire organizations and fire professionals from all across the country attend, along with a number of students and teachers. Songs and entertainment regarding to fire safety is also available making fire education fun. Guest speakers are also a large part of fire protection week. Children also generally receive prizes.

In Alberta, Canada, Alberta Industrial Fire Association is a dominant fire safety educator. They host events year-round ranging from conferences, to skill competitions. A number of presentations can be found on their website regarding a wide variety of topics such as a) Awareness and Planning b) Safety Products c) General Tips

Alberta Industrial Fire Association was founded in 1989 by Len Freeman and Brian Lamond. Alberta Industrial Fire Association's mission statement is: To promote awareness of industrial fire protection and emergency services by information sharing, joint problem solving to minimize damage, loss and injury throughout the industry in the Province of Alberta.

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is observed in the United States in October.[8]

  • 2009 - October 4–10 Theme: "Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned"
  • 2010 - October 3–9 Theme: TBA

Many fire departments observe "Fire Prevention Month" for all of October. Fire departments may visit schools, hang banners, give firehouse tours or hold open houses.


  1. "Vision 20/20". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  2. "Fire Prevention". H2O Fire Sprinklers. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  3. Smoke Alarms in Reported U.S. Home Fire U.S. Experience with Smoke Alarms, NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, Quincy, Massachusetts
  4. " - is for sale (Phillies Fire Co)".
  5. Smoke Detectors Archived 2009-08-16 at the Wayback Machine Village of Greendale, Wisconsin
  6. Smoke Alarm Fact Sheet The Fire Marshall’s Public Fire Safety Council, Ontario Public Fire Safety Council
  7. "National Fire Prevention Association". Archived from the original on 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  8. "National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)".

See also

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