By the President of the United States of America
Fire causes more loss of life and property in the United States than all other natural disasters combined. In the home, fire is the second most frequent cause of accidental death. Volunteer and professional firefighters bear a disproportionate burden of the human costs of fire; firefighting is still America's most hazardous profession.
Every year in this decade 7,500 U.S. citizens have died, 310,000 have been injured and more than $4 billion worth of personal property has been destroyed. America's fire incidents, casualties, and dollar loss per capita are among the very highest in the industrialized world.
As evidence of my strong personal concern about our fire problem, I have proposed a reorganization plan that would put the federal government's principal fire programs in a new Federal Emergency Management Agency. This agency would coordinate America's disaster preparedness, mitigation and response efforts. But the federal government cannot reduce America's fire losses by itself. The public and private sector-all individuals, organizations and governmental entities-must help. Together we can eliminate this unnecessary life-threatening destruction.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate October 8–14, 1978, as Fire Prevention Week.
Because fire deaths most often occur in homes, I call upon American families and other property owners to install smoke detectors, to practice exit drills, and to be especially vigilant in guarding against fires caused by cooking and fires caused by smoking materials, which cause the greatest number of fires and greatest proportion of losses in homes.
I support and encourage the cooperative efforts of private enterprise and government in developing low cost residential sprinkler systems and I urge commercial and government property owners to install sprinklers in both new and older buildings, especially those buildings in which large numbers of people gather.
I urge all agencies of Federal, state and local government involved in the planning and implementation of programs directed to finding solutions to such national concerns as energy conservation, environmental protection, and economic wellbeing to fully consider the effects of their programs on the fire safety of the environment in which Americans live and work.
I encourage the fire service, police, prosecutors, the insurance industry, and government to work together to remove incentives for arson, and to improve arson detection and prosecution so that we can begin to eliminate this costly, often life threatening crime.
I urge officials in private industry and in government who are responsible for using or regulating hazardous materials to seek and implement measures to significantly reduce the possibility of life loss in the event of manufacturing, transportation, or storage accidents and to assist the fire services in preparing for such disasters should they occur.
Finally, I call upon the members of the Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations, the National Fire Protection Association, all other organizations concerned with fire safety, and the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration to provide the leadership, planning, and innovation necessary for an effective national fire prevention and control effort.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and third.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:52 a.m., August 9, 1978]