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 catastrophes combined. Fire is the second most frequent cause of accidental death in the home.
The human costs of fire are borne disproportionately by career and volunteer firefighters. Their profession is one of America's most hazardous.
Each year approximately 8,500 Americans die; another 300,000 are injured in fires and $5 billion worth of property is destroyed. America loses more to fire than most other countries in the industrialized world.
In an effort to alter this tragic situation, the Administration has implemented a Reorganization Plan, placing the United States Fire Administration's fire programs in the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This agency now coordinates America's disaster preparedness and response efforts, and, within it, the fire service still stands as the First Responder, with the capability and mission to contain, mitigate or resolve emergencies.
Yet the Federal government alone cannot reduce America's fire losses. The public and private sector must do their part. Together, working as a team, we can lessen the unnecessary, life-threatening destruction caused by fire.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do designate the week of October 5 through 11 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 further urge all citizens already possessing smoke detectors to use this week to test their devices to ensure their operational status.
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.
I encourage the fire service, police, prosecutors, the insurance industry and governmental agencies to continue to work together to improve arson prevention and control measures. Arson remains America's fastest growing crime and we need total commitment to combat it.
I call upon every fire department in the country to improve the delivery of emergency medical services and to teach citizens the fundamentals of basic life support and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
I urge the fire service to open their profession fully to women.
I encourage the fire service to take full advantage of the National Fire Academy.
I acknowledge the National Fire Protection Association and its affiliate, the Fire Marshals Association of North America, for their sponsorship of this week's international observance.
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, 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 hand this twenty-fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:16 p.m., August 25, 1980]