Fire Prevention: The Fool and His Match

As we commemorate another Fire Prevention Week, let’s look back at its history in the pages of Fire and Water Engineering, an early supporter.

“There is little hope that the fool and the match will ever be divorced,” the editor declared in the July 5, 1911, edition (page 1, first column, second paragraph). This led into an account of a boathouse fire ignited by a carelessly tossed match. Three people died. Download this find from the Fire Engineering Vault HERE as a PDF (6.6 MB).

The next item on that page welcomed the proposal of a Fire Prevention Day and recommended distributing anti-fire tracts from house to house to commemorate it. The October 18, 1911, issue recounted the first fire prevention day, held in Chicago on October 9, 1911, the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The event, of course, included Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. Then, as now, “the younger generation” was a key target audience. The editor concluded that it is not enough to equip a fire department to put out fires; it is essential to equip it to “prevent the starting of fires.” Download this article HERE (PDF, 6.7 MB).



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