JANESVILLE — The Janesville Fire Department turns 125 this year.

We have shared our history with you. We’ve looked at our humble beginnings when we didn’t even have a fire truck to help suppress fires. We also reviewed some of our ‘firsts’ and explored the great relationships we have built and maintained with our rural townships, local businesses and community organizations. We would like to share with you our efforts in Fire Prevention Week.

The week is October 6-12 this year. This year’s theme from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.”

Since the early 1920s, the NFPA has named the week of October 9 as Fire Prevention Week.

This date commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871 and destroyed so many lives, property and acres. This Week teaches people of all ages how to stay safe during a fire. Firefighters also help in providing public education which we hope reduces casualties caused by fires (NFPA.org).

Minutes from the Janesville Fire Department dating back to 1941 urges the Department to take part in the Week. Decades ago, some calendars were provided to local businesses that discussed fire safety. In the early 1960s the Department solicited ads from local businesses that encouraged fire safety. These ads were aimed at grade school children. And, in 1967, the Department visited the classrooms in our schools to promote fire safety with young children. For the past 50 plus years, we continue to take part in this very important week with our schools. We have hosted children at our Fire Barn and have visited them in their classrooms. In 2002 Sparky even joined us.

We have distributed calendars to each home in our fire district and provided door prizes during our Pork Chop Fry during the Week. Do you still have your “File for Life” on your fridge? They came from the Department during Fire Prevention Week years ago. We have also offered to check your smoke alarms (and even provided batteries if you needed a couple). Remember, it’s important to check your smoke / CO detectors in the home on a regular basis. It has been suggested to check your batteries during Daylight Savings weekends. Which reminds me; I need to check mine again on the weekend of November 3.

Since we are celebrating such an important birthday this year, we will host a fundraiser on Sunday, October 6 from 8:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. at the Fire Barn. We will serve a Pancake Breakfast during this fundraiser. Stop by and check out our equipment and other information we will have on display at the Fire Barn.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey.

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