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. Fire is the second most frequent cause of accidental death in the home. Volunteer and professional firefighters bear a disproportionate burden of the human costs of fire; firefighting is still America's most hazardous profession.
Last year 8,700 Americans died, 280,000 were injured in fires and $5 billion in property was lost. America's loss to fire is among the very highest in the industrialized world.
As evidence of my strong personal concern about our fire problem, I have implemented a Reorganization Plan that puts the Federal government's principal fire programs in the new Federal Emergency Management Agency. This now coordinates America's disaster preparedness and response efforts. But the' Federal government alone cannot reduce America's fire losses. The public and private sector must do their part. Together we can lessen this unnecessary, life-threatening destruction.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate October 8-14, 1979, 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.
I encourage the fire service, police, prosecutors, the insurance industry, and government to work together to improve arson detection and prosecution so that we can begin to eliminate this costly, often murderous crime.
I call upon every fire department in the country to teach citizens the fundamentals of basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and to improve the delivery of emergency medical services.
I urge the fire service to fully open their profession to women, and I offer my support to the growing number of professional and volunteer women firefighters.
I encourage the fire service to take full advantage of the National Fire Academy that became a reality this year. The Academy will be an effective tool in providing training and education for the Nation's firefighters.
I support and encourage the cooperative efforts of private enterprise and government in developing low cost residential sprinkler systems that may revolutionize fire safety in the home.
Finally, I call upon members of the Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations, members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, members of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, all other organizations concerned with fire safety, and the United States Fire 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 band this fifteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:21 a.m., August 16, 1979]