Fire Prevention Week began as a way to commemorate the great Chicago fire of 1871. On the fortieth anniversary of the fire, the International Fire Marshals Association decided that the anniversary should be used to inform the public and educate them in the prevention of fires, to avoid another tragedy. In 1920, president Woodrow Wilson declared the first Fire Prevention Day, and beginning in 1922, Fire Prevention Week was observed during the week on which October
Fire departments across the United States organize activities that occur throughout the week, such as visits to local schools or businesses, an open house at the fire station, and various demonstrations. During these events, firefighters take time to talk to the public about how they can prevent fires, what they can do in the event of a fire, and proper use of fire extinguishers. Children are treated to tours of the fire trucks, a trip through a smoke house to demonstrate how to get out of a burning house, and they also come face to face with a firefighter in full protective gear to show them that there is nothing to be scared of when one of the firefighters come looking for them.
Fire departments hold events throughout the year, however most feel this week is the most important, as the techniques and information presented to the public can potentially save a life.
Some information from http://www.nfpa.org website