Skip navigation
All Places > NFPA Today > Blog > 2015 > January > 26

NFPA Today

January 26, 2015 Previous day Next day

As Winter Storm Juno fast approaches, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges the public to use added caution when heating their homes in the days ahead. Home heating equipment is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths, with January being one of the three leading months for home heating fires. In addition, improperly used or malfunctioning heating equipment can create carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous, potentially fatal gas in the home.   Storm Juno 2

Unattended heating equipment is the leading cause of home heating fires. NFPA recommends monitoring all heating equipment carefully, particularly space heaters. Whether portable or stationary, space heaters account for one-third (33 percent) of home heating fires and four out of five (81 percent) of home heating fire deaths on average per year.

Also, with the potential for power outages, NFPA strongly encourages having flashlights and battery-powered lighting at the ready; never use candles to light your home. 

For more information on home heating as well as carbon monoxide safety, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires”, NFPA’s winter safety campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration.

Maine now joins 21 other states that have formalized a sprinkler coalition. Initiated late last year, the Maine Fire Sprinkler Coalition is led by State Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, who offered candid comments to NFPA about his state's home fire problem, sprinkler opposition, and the coalition's attempt at changing the culture of sprinklers.  


Maine experienced 26 fire deaths in 2014. Two residential fires were responsible for 10 of these fatalities. Are there any key finds from these tragedies?


What we’re finding is that the vast majority of fatalities are associated with fires that are in places that don’t have smoke detectors or inoperable smoke detectors. I've been around long enough to see the onset of smoke detectors in the late '70s and early '80s. Since then, we've seen the number of fire fatalities come down. However, national trends indicate that 98 percent of people believe they're protected by smoke detectors, but in reality it's about 60 percent. We need to bolster people's recognition of fire sprinklers as viable things that need to be installed.

The Research Foundation is excited to announce its annual slate of free webinars. In 2015, six webinars will be offered to all those interested at absolutely no cost on the following subjects:

February - Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings

April – Wildland Fire Ignition Pathways

June – Smoke Alarm Nuisance Source Characterization

August – PV Update - Insurers Perspective

October – Smart Firefighting

December – ESFRs and Obstructions 

WEBAHVThe first webinar of the year is entitled Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings. Delivered by John Adey, President of American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), the webinar will present the results of the recently completed Foundation report. The goal of this project was to identify and summarize available information that clarifies the problem of hazardous voltage/current in marinas, boatyards and floating buildings, and to develop a mitigation strategy to address identified hazards.

This first webinar will take place on February 10, 2015 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm; register here.

This series of webinars is sponsored by the Fire Protection Research Foundation with support from: Eaton Corporation; Globe Fire Sprinkler Corporation; IKEA; Proctor & Gamble; Property Insurance Research Group (PIRG); SimplexGrinnell; Tyco Fire Protection Products; Viking Sprinkler Corporation; Zurich Insurance; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Perspectives blog
Fire can happen to anyone—just ask New Milford, Connecticut, Fire Marshal Karen Facey. Facey’s powerful account of her own recent brush with fire can be found in the “Perspectives” feature in the January/February issue of NFPA Journal.

Fire “doesn’t care where you live, how much money you make, how much you care about safety, or what you do for a living—even if you’re a fire marshal,” Facey writes in her personal account. “I had certainly felt human, and fallible, when I realized my kitchen was on fire; in that moment, I was less a highly trained fire professional than a homeowner faced with a critical split-second decision.”

After spending a recent Saturday driving her two teenage children more than 300 miles to their various events, Facey dropped the kids off at their father’s house and set to work melting some wax on the stove in preparation for a candle-making project. Tired at the end of a long day, she went to bed without properly turning off the stove and woke to smoke alarms blaring and “a column of flame shooting from the stovetop, 50 feet from me,” she writes. She was able to put the fire out with water, but her embarrassment was palpable, especially when sharing the story the next day at a training for volunteer firefighters.

 “The bottom line is that working smoke alarms saved my home, and there is a strong likelihood that they saved my life and the lives of my pets,” Facey writes. “Fire and public safety professionals should use my story to help urge their audiences to change their smoke alarm batteries immediately and test them monthly. … If this message can encourage or cause one person to change their behavior, then it is worth every iota of embarrassment and judgment coming my way.”

To read Facey’s personal story, check out the latest issue of NFPA Journal

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: