Granby Fire open house celebrates Fire Prevention Week | SkyHiNews.com

Granby Fire open house celebrates Fire Prevention Week

Guy Kirouac
Fully Involved

Fire Prevention week

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11, and people of all ages are invited to the Granby Fire Open House on Tuesday, Oct. 7th from 4-7 p.m. for station tours, fire prevention education and tons of prizes. Dinner and dessert are included. Sparky the Dog and Smokey Bear will be there. This year’s message is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives. Test Yours Every Month.”

Area Fire Departments

Granby Fire: 970-887-3380

Grand Lake Fire: 970-627-8428

Hot Sulphur Fire: 970-725-3414

East Grand Fire: 970-726-5824

Kremmling Fire: 970-724-3795

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on Oct. 8 but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow — belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary — kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The ‘Moo’ myth

Like any good story, the ‘case of the cow’ has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O’Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O’Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out — or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O’Leary herself swore that she’d been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn’t to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O’Leary’s may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth, starting several fires that day — in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

Smoke Alarms

About three out of five (60 percent) reported home fire deaths from 2007 to 2011 were due to fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93 percent of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79 percent of the time.

When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. — Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, http://www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2014 NFPA.

Working smoke alarms save lives. They should be located inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is recommended that you check your smoke alarms monthly. Press and hold the test button with your finger. A loud, screeching, beep-beep-beep is a positive result. No sound means you should replace the battery and retest the alarm. If your smoke alarm is chirping, the battery is depleted and should be replaced. If it was chirping but now it’s stopped, chances are your battery has drained completely. If the alarm unit is more than 10 years old it should be replaced. You can find new ones at your local hardware store.

You can’t eliminate all risk. But you can take small steps to reduce risk. Check, upgrade, or install smoke alarms for Fire Prevention Week 2014. A small investment in time and money could yield the greatest dividends.

Guy Kirouac is a guest columnist and retired physics teacher who operates a small woodworking business from his home studio in Winter Park.


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