Fire prevention

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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 preventing fire-based n emergencies and reducing the damage caused by them. Many fire departments have one or more Fire Prevention Officers, which may also be a routine duty of firefighters.


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

Target audiences


Children are the primary target of fire prevention knowledge. Firefighters will often visit schools and teach students the basics of fire prevention and fire safety, including how to evacuate from a burning building and how to prevent fires by avoiding dangerous activities such as playing with matches.

Elderly and disabled people

Elderly and disabled people are potentially at greater risk in emergency situations as a result of poor mobility or not understanding the danger they are in. Fire prevention outreach often involves ensuring that these groups have a clearly defined plan of what to do in the event of an emergency and easy access to emergency exits.


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. Common lessons taught during fire prevention seminars include:

Stop, drop and roll

Stop, drop and roll is often taught as part of fire prevention education efforts as it is both a simple technique to learn, and an effective way of extinguishing burning clothing. It is particularly suited to children who may panic if their clothing catches fire and they do not know how to put it out.

Smoke detector installation and maintenance

Generally taught more to adults (particularly homeowners), a core part of fire prevention outreach involves encouraging people to ensure that they have an adequate number of smoke detectors installed in their homes, and that they are kept in good working order and tested regularly. These steps can significantly reduce deaths in household fires, [3] [4] particularly at night when people are sleeping. [5] Smoke detectors commonly make a persistent beeping sound when their batteries run low, and a key part of fire prevention outreach involves encouraging people to replace batteries promptly instead of just removing them to make the beeping stop.

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.

Abandoned cooking and appliances

Teaching people not to leave stoves, ovens, toasters, clothing irons, barbecues, and candles unattended can help to reduce fires as a result.

Firefighters are here to help

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 could be an unfamiliar sight, especially to a child. One way a child can get used to or trust a firefighter is seeing a firefighter dress, step by step, seeing that they are a person wearing a uniform and protective equipment. 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.)

Discouraging playing with fire

Though fire can be a source of fascination for young children, the potential for accidents as a result is high. Fire prevention often aims to teach children not to play with fire so that they do not accidentally cause a conflagration.

Reduction of false alarms

Much of fire prevention education also involves advice on how to reduce false alarms. False alarms have the potential to waste manpower and resources, which may be needed desperately at a real emergency. In addition, firefighters responding to calls in fire engines are at increased risk of traffic collisions when driving under emergency conditions. In 2008 the state of New York found that 18% of firefighter deaths in the line of duty had occurred whilst responding to calls. [6]

Fire prevention inspections

Many fire departments have fire prevention divisions, which consist of groups 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 may 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 firefighter wears into a fire.

A typical 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:

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.

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. [7]

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.

Related Research Articles

Firefighter Type of rescuer trained primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property, and the environment as well as to rescue people and animals from dangerous situations

A firefighter is a rescuer extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property, and the environment as well as to rescue people and in some cases or jurisdictions also animals from dangerous situations. Male firefighters are sometimes referred to colloquially by the historical term fireman although the use of this terminology is officially discouraged.

Fire sprinkler system

A fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection method, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flowrate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected. Although historically only used in factories and large commercial buildings, systems for homes and small buildings are now available at a cost-effective price. Fire sprinkler systems are extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 96% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone.

Self-contained breathing apparatus Emergency breathing air supply system carried by the user

A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), sometimes referred to as a compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA) or simply breathing apparatus (BA), is a device worn to provide breathable air in an atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life or health. They are typically used in firefighting and industry. The term self-contained means that the SCBA is not dependent on a remote supply of breathing gas. If designed for use under water, it is also known as a scuba set. When not used underwater, they are sometimes called industrial breathing sets. Unofficial names include air pack, air tank or simply pack, which are mostly used in firefighting.

Smoke detector Device that detects smoke, typically as an indicator of fire

A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial smoke detectors issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue an audible or visual alarm from the detector itself or several detectors if there are multiple smoke detectors interlinked.

National Fire Protection Association International nonprofit organization

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. As of 2018, the NFPA claims to have 50,000 members and 9,000 volunteers working with the organization through its 250 technical committees.

Honolulu Fire Department

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the City & County of Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Honolulu. Founded on December 27, 1850 by Kamehameha III and Alexander Cartwright, the Honolulu Fire Department serves and protects the entire island of O'ahu, covering over 600 square miles (1,600 km2) of territory, home to more than 880,000 residents and over 4 million annual visitors.


Firefighting is the act of attempting to prevent the spread of and extinguish significant unwanted fires in buildings, vehicles, woodlands, etc. A firefighter suppresses fires to protect lives, property and the environment.

Fire safety Practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire

Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire. Fire safety measures include those that are intended to prevent ignition of an uncontrolled fire, and those that are used to limit the development and effects of a fire after it starts.

Firefighting jargon includes a diverse lexicon of both common and idiosyncratic terms. One problem that exists in trying to create a list such as this is that much of the terminology used by a particular department is specifically defined in their particular standing operating procedures, such that two departments may have completely different terms for the same thing. For example, depending on whom one asks, a safety team may be referred to as a standby, a RIT or RIG or RIC, or a FAST. Furthermore, a department may change a definition within its SOP, such that one year it may be RIT, and the next RIG or RIC.

Fire sprinkler Component that discharges water to protect buildings

A fire sprinkler or sprinkler head is the component of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a predetermined temperature has been exceeded. Fire sprinklers are extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. In buildings protected by properly designed and maintained fire sprinklers, over 99% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone.

Carbon monoxide detector A device that measures carbon monoxide (CO)

A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. In the late 1990s Underwriters Laboratories changed the definition of a single station CO detector with a sound device to carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. This applies to all CO safety alarms that meet UL 2034 standard; however for passive indicators and system devices that meet UL 2075, UL refers to these as carbon monoxide detectors.

Fire protection

Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of potentially destructive fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of mitigating systems. In structures, be they land-based, offshore or even ships, the owners and operators are responsible to maintain their facilities in accordance with a design-basis that is rooted in laws, including the local building code and fire code, which are enforced by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

Active fire protection (AFP) is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterized by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.

Fire alarm system

A fire alarm system has a number of devices working together to detect and warn people through visual and audio appliances when smoke, fire, carbon monoxide or other emergencies are present. These alarms may be activated automatically from smoke detectors, and heat detectors or may also be activated via manual fire alarm activation devices such as manual call points or pull stations. Alarms can be either motorized bells or wall mountable sounders or horns. They can also be speaker strobes which sound an alarm, followed by a voice evacuation message which warns people inside the building not to use the elevators. Fire alarm sounders can be set to certain frequencies and different tones including low, medium and high, depending on the country and manufacturer of the device. Most fire alarm systems in Europe sound like a siren with alternating frequencies. Fire alarm electronic devices are known as horns in the United States and Canada, and can be either continuous or set to different codes. Fire alarm warning devices can also be set to different volume levels.

Firefighting is the act of extinguishing destructive fires. A firefighter fights these fires with the intent to prevent destruction of life, property and the environment. Firefighting is a highly technical profession, which requires years of training and education in order to become proficient. A fire can rapidly spread and endanger many lives; however, with modern firefighting techniques, catastrophe can usually be avoided. To help prevent fires from starting, a firefighter's duties include public education and conducting fire inspections. Because firefighters are often the first responders to victims in critical conditions, firefighters often also provide basic life support as emergency medical technicians or advanced life support as licensed paramedics. Firefighters make up one of the major emergency services, along with the emergency medical service, the police, and many others.

Firefighting in the United States Firefighting

Firefighting in the United States dates back to the earliest European Colonies in the Americas. Early firefighters were simply community members who would respond to neighborhood fires with a bucket. The first dedicated volunteer fire brigade was established in 1736 in Philadelphia. These volunteer companies were often paid by insurance companies in return for protecting their clients.

Home safety refers to the awareness and education of risks and potential dangers in and around a home which may cause bodily harm, injury, or even death to those residing in and around the physical structure of a home. It includes mitigating or preventing unwanted dangers through testing, research, and accepted standards of applications and practices.

The 1978 Holiday Inn Fire broke out at the Holiday Inn-Northwest which was located at 1525 West Ridge Road in the Town of Greece, near Rochester, New York, on November 26, 1978, and killed ten people. Seven of the fatalities were Canadian; 88 Canadians were staying in the hotel at the time on a holiday shopping trip. The fire was considered notable enough by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and The Center for Fire Research to document the fire in their 1979 publications. In the end, 10 people were killed and 34 injured. In 2008, the NFPA listed the 1978 Holiday Inn Fire as one of only three dozen or so fires which killed 10 or more people in the United States between 1934 and 2006.

David A. Lucht American engineer and fire safety expert

David Allen Lucht is an American engineer and fire safety advocate. His career was devoted to public service in government, academia and the nonprofit sector. He served as the Ohio State Fire Marshal; the first presidential appointee to serve in the United States Fire Administration and the inaugural head of the graduate degree fire protection engineering program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he served for 25 years

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services

Vaughan Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) provides fire protection, technical rescue services, hazardous materials response, and first responder emergency medical assistance to the city of Vaughan, Ontario. It operates 10 fire stations and coordinates with other fire departments in York Region and the Greater Toronto Area. VFRS received a 100 per cent satisfaction rating in the City of Vaughan’s 2018 Citizen Survey.


  1. "Vision 20/20". Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  2. "Fire Prevention". H2O Fire Sprinklers. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. 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. Smoke Detectors Archived 2009-08-16 at the Wayback Machine Village of Greendale, Wisconsin
  5. Smoke Alarm Fact Sheet The Fire Marshall’s Public Fire Safety Council, Ontario Archived 2009-12-21 at the Wayback Machine Public Fire Safety Council
  6. "National Fire Prevention Association". Archived from the original on 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
  7. "National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)". Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-11-02.

See also