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Bil KeaneBil Keane, a cartoonist who for more than 50 years entertained readers of the funny pages with his "Family Circus" comic strip, died on November 8 at his Arizona home. He was 89.

According to Mr. Keane’s obituary in the LA Times, "Family Circus" appears in nearly 1,500 papers around the world, making it the most widely read syndicated panel. His cast of instantly-recognizable characters –mom, dad, their four children (Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, PJ), and their dog, Barfy - used gentle humor to show the lighter side of modern family life. 

In 1998, NFPA invited Mr. Keane to draw the official artwork for posters, brochures, and other fire safety material for its annual Fire Prevention Week campaign.

“Mr. Keane was really very nice and a pleasure to work with,” says NFPA project manager Steve Dornbusch. “He sincerely liked helping people. However, at one point when it came to drawing Sparky the Fire Dog® (NFPA’s official mascot), he had problems getting him right, and I had to give him some art direction. By the third time he very nicely, but firmly, said to me – ‘I'm a cartoonist - not an illustrator, this is what I do.’  It looked great to me after that!” 

Some examples of Mr. Keane’s work on NFPA’s 1998 Fire Prevention Week campaign:

Bil Keane FPW artwork

Bil Keane FPW artwork

Bil Keane FPW artwork

Following is a note Mr. Keane sent to NFPA's Steve Dornbusch after he had completed the art for NFPA's Fire Prevention Week campaign in 1998: 

Bil Keane note to NFPA

- Mike Hazell

Children under age five are 1.21 times as likely as the general population to die in a fire. They are nearly eight times as likely to die in a fire started by playing with a heat source as the general population.

To address the needs of young children, NFPA is currently revising the Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program lessons plans to be taught by preschool and kindergarten teachers and the home link activities that go to parents and caregivers. The Learn Not to Burn Preschool songs and recordings by Jim Post have also been updated, and musician Dante Ware joins Jim in singing and performing many of the songs. The recordings will be free to download from our website along with the lesson plans.

The new “Stay Away from Hot Things That Hurt You” lessons plans have just been posted on NFPA’s website. Included are four lesson plans to teach the behavior, flash cards that show hot things and things that are not hot, photos of hot and not hot things in an 8 ½ by 11 format for group discussion, a Circle the Hot Things activity sheet, the “Don’t Touch Hot Things” song, and a letter to parents and guardians.

- Sharon Gamache

llustration of musicians Jim Post and Dante Ware performing with children.FmJim_Dante_LoRez

Firefighters suffered 71,875 injuries in the line of duty last year, an eight percent decrease from 2009 and a two-decade low, according to the new NFPA report “U.S. Firefighter Injuries”. The report takes a look at the number of 2010 firefighter injuries, injuries by type of duty, exposures to infectious diseases, and how a community’s size affects the number of injuries within a fire department.

Key findings from the report:

  • An estimated 15,000 injuries, or 20.8 percent of all firefighter injuries, resulted in lost time from work in 2010.
  • In addition to injuries, there were 11,200 exposures to infectious diseases and 25,700 exposures to hazardous conditions.
  • The Northeast reported a higher number of fire ground injuries per 100 fires (sustained from structure fires, vehicle fires, and brush fires) than other regions of the country.
  • Almost half (45 percent) of all firefighter injuries occurred during fire ground operations. An estimated 13,355 occurred at non-fire emergencies, 4,380 while responding to or returning from an incident, 7,275 during training activities, and 14,190 during other on-duty activities.

Read more, download NFPA's "U.S. Firefighter Injuries" report.

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