Several years ago, my husband and I traveled through time without leaving our home.
We had purchased a 120-year-old Victorian house, which had been converted into a triplex during the 1960’s. During the stages of demolition to turn it back into a single-family home, my husband and I took down ceiling tiles, old fixtures, and walls covered in dated wallpaper. As we uncovered each layer of the house, we watched history unfold.
But it wasn’t until we pulled up the flooring that I found a priceless artifact: a full-page newspaper spread on Fire Prevention Week from October 9th, 1939. At the time of my discovery, I was a local fire and life safety public educator. I immediately sat down to look closely at the yellowed newsprint, which, remarkably, was in great condition, even though it had been under tiers of flooring for almost 75 years.
Amazingly, many of the messages were still right on target.
Fast forward to today. This newspaper spread has even more meaning to me during Fire Prevention Week now that I am a full-time staff person for NFPA. I am honored to carry on this mighty tradition, commemorating the Great Chicago Fire, and ever-steadily helping to increase education and reduce injuries related to fires.
We urge everyone to pause this week and think about the 2015 Fire Prevention Week theme: "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep! Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm". This is mark on history and our chance to make a difference. Having working smoke alarms in all sleeping areas will save lives!