Here in Philadelphia Fire Department, we like to think that EVERY week is Fire Prevention Week! From our community outreach efforts to school presentations and free smoke alarm installations, we spread the word about fire safety year-round.

But the national observance of Fire Prevention Week — Oct. 8-14, 2023 — gives us the chance to spotlight a particular safety issue. This year’s events are listed at the bottom of this post and address the theme “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention!”

Cooking is the most common cause of home fires and related injuries in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. 

What can you do to cook safely?

  • Keep kids and pets at least 3 feet from hot things in the kitchen. 
  • Make sure the area around the stovetop is clear of anything that could catch fire, like towels, paper or plastic. 
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves.
  • Use a timer to remind you to check on your food. 
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so no one can bump them or pull them over. 
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Instead, order food to be delivered. 
  • Test your smoke alarms regularly.

About those smoke alarms: If they are more than 10 years old — or if you don’t have them — please put in a request with Philly 311. The Fire Department will come and install them for free! 

Fire Prevention Week is pegged to the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which broke out on Oct. 8, 1871, killing about 300 people, leaving 100,000 homeless, and destroying more than 17,000 buildings. 

Fire Prevention Week resources are available in Spanish from the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association.

Fire Prevention Week Events in Philadelphia

SEPTA Fire Safety Posters
Thursday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m.
Engine 8, 4th & Arch Streets

Officials from the PFD and SEPTA will place the first of 2,000 fire prevention car cards on a SEPTA bus. This year’s theme — “Cooking safety begins with YOU!” — aims to make Philadelphians aware of cooking hazards. 

Citywide Fire Drill
Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
12526 Richton Road

The Fire Department will conduct a drill at 6 p.m. at a home in Northeast Philadelphia. The family will use their practiced home escape plan to evacuate the house while Engine 22 and Ladder 31 engage in a simulated response to the “fire.” At 7:30 p.m., fire apparatus sirens throughout the city will sound to indicate the start of the citywide fire drill. All Philadelphians are urged to participate by testing their home escape plans — residents should know two ways out of their home in case of an emergency. 

Firefighter & EMS Providers of the Year
Friday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m.
Fireman’s Hall Museum

Mayor Jim Kenney will issue a proclamation for Fire Prevention Week, and the PFD will recognize the Firefighter and EMS Providers of the Year. Events take place at Fireman’s Hall Museum, 147 N. 2nd St.