October 14, 2022
Looking Back: The UL Enterprise Has Celebrated Fire Prevention Week Since the Beginning 100 Years Ago
Since the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) began celebrating Fire Prevention Week in 1922, the UL enterprise has been working to educate the public as a critical element in the fight against fire. UL’s general agent, George B. Muldaur, promoted UL’s work in speeches around the country, both in person and by the newest form of popular media in the 1920s: the radio. In 1922, Fire Engineering magazine reported that “the Underwriters’ Laboratories’ contribution to the observance of Fire Prevention Day consisted of the most comprehensive radio program ever attempted.”
Fire prevention has always been at the heart of UL’s work. During the early 1900s, rapid urbanization, hurried building construction and a poor understanding of the causes of electrical fires led to infamous fire disasters such as the Great Fire of 1901, the Iroquois Theatre Fire (1903), the Baltimore Conflagration (1904), and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (1911). During the holiday season in 1921 – the year before NFPA began celebrating Fire Prevention Week to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – Muldaur even sent a telegram directly to the White House upon the announcement that President and Mrs. Harding were going to place lighted candles in the windows of the White House on Christmas Eve. He informed President Harding this would be setting a bad example for the rest of the nation, and Harding agreed not to proceed.
One hundred years later, UL Research Institutes has been established as the nonprofit research organization within the UL enterprise and its Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) is dedicated to addressing the world’s unresolved fire safety risks and emerging dangers. After over a decade of partnering with the fire service to help them fight fires more safely and effectively, FSRI is sharing it research findings with the public in support of this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Fire Won’t Wait. Plan Your Escape.”
Combining actual FSRI research footage and data from their full-scale fire experiments with custom 3D modeling , FSRI has produced a video series showing how a home fire grows and spreads, underscoring the dangers of smoke and encouraging everyone to have and practice a fire escape plan – including what to do if they cannot escape.
Visit FSRI’s Close Your Door public fire safety education site to see the new videos and learn more.
About Fire Safety Research Institute
The Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) strives to advance fire safety knowledge and strategies in order to create safer environments. Using advanced fire science, rigorous research, extensive outreach and education in collaboration with an international network of partners, the organization imparts stakeholders with knowledge, tools, and resources that enable them to make better, more fire safe decisions that ultimately save lives and property. To learn more, visit fsri.org. Follow the Fire Safety Research Institute on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.