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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 7, 1996




Our Nation has a long tradition of unity in the face of adversity, and Americans have always stood together to fight one of our most terrifying and preventable problems -- fire. We are fortunate to have so many dedicated public and private organizations working diligently to promote fire prevention and safety. Each October, Fire Prevention Week gives us an opportunity to remember family and friends who have been the victims of fire, and to redouble our efforts to prevent these tragedies.

Uncontrolled, fire can destroy homes, livelihoods, and lives. This year, in the wake of one of the most serious wildland fire seasons in history and a troubling series of arsons at houses of worship, we must join together and rededicate ourselves to fire prevention efforts. Whether working to stop church arsons or to avoid accidental fires in the home, we all have an important role to play.

The National Fire Protection Association has selected "Let's Hear it for Fire Safety: Test Your Detectors!" as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, 1996, and joins with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to communicate this lifesaving message. This year's theme focuses on a vital and simple element of home fire protection -- smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors can provide early warning and reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by almost half. The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week reinforces the need for regular testing of home smoke detectors. The combination of a working smoke detector with a well-rehearsed escape plan can enable people to exit safely and quickly in the event of a fire.

Thanks to the commitment and support of our Nation's fire and emergency services, we continue to make fire prevention and fire safety a top priority in America. Too often, these dedicated champions of fire safety pay the ultimate price in service to their communities. Last year, 102 firefighters died, and more than 94,500 were injured. On Sunday, October 13, 1996, we will pay our respects to these courageous men and women at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6 through October 12, 1996, as Fire Prevention Week. I encourage the people of the United States to take an active role in fire prevention not only this week, but also throughout the year. I also call upon every citizen to pay tribute to the members of our fire services who have lost their lives or been injured in service to their communities, and to those men and women who carry on their noble tradition.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.


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