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2018 and 2017 Educators of the Year Denise Hynes and Dolly Hulin, respectively on the dais before making their presentation

Dolly Hulin (right), fire and life safety education division chief for the Thomasville Fire Department and the 2017 NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year is known for her exceptional commitment to fire and burn prevention education. Denise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, and the 2018 NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year is described as a tireless educator who has an unbelievable passion and enthusiasm for her job.

The two fire safety dynamos came together at NFPA Conference & Expo last week to present the education session: Lessons from the 2017 and 2018 NFPA Educator of the Year. Before a packed room the two shared their methods of reaching community members with little or no budget and tackling common challenges that educators face. The workshop highlighted programs focusing on working with immigrants, older adults, parents and children and community agencies in partnership as well as grant writing.

The Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award is presented annually to a public educator from the U.S. or Canada who takes a lead role in making the community safer.

 

A car on fire and a firefighter extinguishing it, followed by bulleted safety tipsAdditional educational resources that include Canadian spellings and data are available for the Canadian fire service, public educators and consumers. Just in time for the warmer weather are Canadian versions of safety tips sheets on grilling, hotels/motels, motor homes, camp fires, as well as tip sheets on barns, candles, car fires, heating and other topics of interest. NFPA’s Carbon Monoxide Alarm toolkit and portions of the Remembering When program include Canadian versions of materials. All of these documents can be found on the Education Materials for Canadian Fire Services page of the NFPA website.

Since the early 2000s, the media has reported on  deaths from electric shock drowning (ESD), yet many people say they have never heard about this troubling trend. ESD can occur in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, marinas, lakes and ponds, and it happens when faulty wiring sends an electrical current into the water. The current then passes through the body and causes paralysis. When this happens, a person can no longer swim and ultimately drowns. 

 

Some would argue the number of electric shock deaths reported are not that high, yet ESD severely injuries and kills many people a year. Why the discrepancy? ESD, unfortunately, is not easy to detect in an autopsy, which leads to ESD cases not being properly reported or investigated. In most cases, first responders have to rely on the accounts of eyewitnesses who hear cries for help and/or learn from other swimmers that they felt a tingling sensation in the water. Most often, the cases end up being reported as drownings and the real cause of death — electricity in the water — remains completely undetected.

 

Sounds scary? It is. All this month NFPA is raising awareness of electrical hazards in and around our homes during National Electrical Safety Month. As we head into Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer, we encourage people to learn more about the potential risks that exist in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas and launch ramps. The good news is, these deaths are preventable if we take the time to understand the dangers and obey the warning signs.

 

Our new video (below) is one way we’re helping educate people so we can all safely enjoy summer water activities. The video is meant to be shared and we invite you to give it to family members, friends and neighbors. After watching it, take the opportunity to start a discussion with those you love about the ways you can reduce your risk of ESD.

 

 

NFPA has a number of really great resources, too, for swimmers, boat and pool owners, as well as for marina operators including tip sheets, checklists, brochures and more that you can download, use (and share!) immediately. You can find everything at www.nfpa.org/watersafety. For more great insight on this topic, check out NFPA's electrical technical lead, Derek Vigstol's latest blog

 

As the summer months beckon us to the beauty of watering holes and backyard pools, let’s work together to help raise more awareness of this deadly problem so that all of us can stay safe this summer and throughout the year. 

May 17th marked the very first Fire Safety Summit in Ames, Iowa.  The Iowa State University campus provided a beautiful backdrop as over 60 attendees from across the state rolled in for a diverse line-up of topics on the agenda, including state updates on carbon monoxide and fireworks. On site that day were NFPA representatives from the divisions of Public Education, Codes & Standards, and the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, along with presentations from Consumer Safety Product Commission, the American Red Cross and Sioux City Fire Department.   Special Agent in Charge for the Iowa Department of Public Safety and NFPA Public Education Network Representative for the State of Iowa commented  “Our first annual Iowa Fire Safety Summit was a success.  It was very beneficial to introduce Iowa’s fire service to NFPA and the great resources and information their organization can provide.  We’ve heard great feedback from the attendees and feel we have a strong foundation to build upon for the coming years.”

Photo of inside of a clothes dryer, followed by a bulleted list of safety tipsIn Iowa, the Dubuque Fire Department reports that lint in a dryer exhaust duct started an early morning fire recently at a mobile home. Firefighters were able to quickly locate the fire under the mobile home and extinguish it. According to KCRG-TV9, the homeowner told authorities he heard the smoke alarm was able to escape unharmed from the mobile home. NFPA’s Clothes Dryer Safety tip sheet provides reminders on how to prevent a dryer fire.

Boats at a marina, followed by bulleted safety tips

This week kicks off National Safe Boating Week, part of the North American Safe Boating Campaign, which focuses on spreading the message of boating safety and encouraging boater education. Promoting life jacket wear by every boater is the leading goal of the campaign.

The campaign traces its history to a resolution prepared by the U.S. Coast Guard and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is a year-round campaign focused on spreading the message of boating safety that kicks off for a full week before Memorial Day weekend. NFPA’s Marina and Boating Safety tip sheet features safety tips for boaters, swimmers, and marina staff about the dangers in and around the water. The tip sheet can be used as part of a safe boating campaign or as stand-alone, timely information.

A smoke alarm shrouded by smokeFire and life safety professionals are known to utter these words: Choose a device that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory or Check the device for the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory. From time to time they may have a need for professional product, equipment, process or chemical testing, inspection and evaluation services from a nationally recognized testing laboratory.  But how do you contact one of these laboratories? The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a list of them. OSHA’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program recognizes private sector organizations that can perform certification to make sure products meet the requirement for construction and general industry OSHA electrical standards.

Image of a smoke alarm, followed by a list of safety tipsAirbnb hosts rent all or part of their home to guests as an alternative to traditional hotels or other hospitality settings. A new study in the journal Injury Prevention evaluating Airbnb fire safety finds that 20 percent of Airbnb’s in Washington, D.C. might not have smoke alarms. The study evaluated listings of amenities in Airbnb properties in 16 U.S. cities to calculate availability of safety features. According to WTOP, the study found that 58 percent listed carbon monoxide alarms and less than half reported having fire extinguishers or first aid kits.

“Safety amenities are important when you stay someplace and you as a consumer should be aware if they’re provided,” said Dr. Vanya Jones of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

NFPA’s safety tips sheets on the topics of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and hotel and motel safety provide advice on precautions to take and safety measures for the home or when you’re away.

An RV on the road with bicycles fastened to the back. Closeup of a carbon monoxide alarm

A fifth-wheel recreational vehicle (RV) was destroyed by fire on Friday evening in Bend, Oregon. When fire crews arrived the RV was fully involved. The RV was parked on private property and not attached to a vehicle when the fire broke out. According to KTVZ, losses were estimated at $7,000. The owner was moved to temporary lodging. Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering is reminding the public that working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are just as important in RVs as they are in traditional homes.

NFPA’s motor home, camper, and recreational vehicle safety tip sheet has pointers for helping to prevent fires and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide exposure.

One family learned first hand that working smoke alarms save lives a few months ago.  A brave 8 year old heard the sound of the smoke alarm and woke her family up.  Since the fire had spread, they used their second way out.  According to Rachel Moreno, Public information officer with the Harris County Fire Marshals office, " This family practiced Know Your Way Out- an outreach campaign her office works on all year!"   With escape planning and having a meeting place at the heart of their community outreach- it was so awesome that a family was saved by the sound of a working smoke alarm.  To make sure families are safe all year round, the Harris County Fire Marshals office has seasonal safety messages that match the season. To help families prepare this spring, Harris County Fire Marshals office developed a Spring Cleaning Checklist. Grilling is a year round activity in Texas but with the warm weather across the US this week, its a good time to check your grill and follow these safety tips.  All this safety tips and more are what fire safety is about! Hi Five to our Texas buddies for your great work and congratulations on this smoke alarm save!

What do crawfish, pepper jelly, alligator bites and fire safety have in common?  They are all part of the offering you might get in Louisiana this spring. The Louisiana State Fire Marshals office in conjunction with NFPA sponsored the first Fire safety summit with 86 firefighters and fire personnel in Zachary.  This exciting educational event focused on the fire safety issues that are causes fires and injuring LA residents.  Firefighters, fire marshals and educators from across the state attended this inaugural event to focus on fire safety in the Bayou.  American Red Cross and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission were just two of the many partners that helped with this day long event. The day included information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide safety and how to reach senior adults through programs like Remembering When. Click here to find out more about fire safety in Louisiana!

It came as no surprise to me to learn that Ron Farr had been recently bestowed with the high honor of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Volunteer Fire Council.  In my mind the only thing that prevented him from receiving it much sooner, would simply be the "lifetime" qualification.  

 

While I have only known Ron for the past 10 years, he had dedicated over 50 to the fire service, and undoubtedly made a huge impact on a great many lives.  As the former State Fire Marshal in Michigan, Ron was one of the first people to reach out and provide support for fire & life safety education initiatives I was spearheading, and he was quick to offer hands-on assistance delivering training and information alongside me to our school administrators and educators.  His guidance helped to develop vital safety programs offered in our local area, and his mentoring was influential in shaping the direction of my work.  And still today, Ron is a trusted resource and good friend.  I am proud to give a shout-out for a well deserved award to a rock-solid guy.  Congratulations Ron Farr!

A page from the NFPA smoke alarm installation guide giving tips on how to start a programThe Grand Rapids Fire Department celebrated a milestone recently that it has been working toward for the past 5 years. According to Fox17 West Michigan, the firefighters of Ladder 1 installed their 50,000th smoke alarm on April 14th. The department celebrated the occasion with an event featuring the fire chief and mayor. The fire prevention division installed the alarms in more than 8,200 owner-occupied homes as part of a Residential Safety Program that began in 2013. As part of a free program, in addition to the installations, home safety assessments are done and home fire prevention education is provided. Carbon monoxide alarms are also installed with the help of grant funding. NFPA’s “Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program” is a comprehensive guidebook to help you get an installation program started in your community.

Arkansas Fire Safety Summit in conjunction with Arkansas Fire Marshal Association

 

April showers brought more than May flowers in Arkansas this month. Over 60 fire marshals from across Arkansas attended the second Fire Safety Summit hosted in Jacksonville, AR.  With a high rate of fire deaths in this rural state, fire marshals gathered to talk about hot topics affecting fire prevention ahead of their annual Fire Marshal Association conference. National speakers from NFPA, Nationwide: Make Safe Happen, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission gave updates and new innovative ways to reach consumers about the dangers of fire, importance of smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers, wildfire and carbon monoxide. The focus of the summit was how we protect the work with our knowledge. A special thanks to Nationwide Insurance for sponsoring the event.  Thanks to everyone that took time to attend this fire safety event to help save lives in Arkansas.

Image of a carbon monoxide alarmSaginaw firefighters are working to make the city safer, one home at a time. According to television station ABC12, FEMA recently awarded the fire department a grant to purchase 1,300 carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Firefighters have been installing them. Already at least four of them have alerted families to the potentially deadly gas. CO alarms should be installed outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations as required by laws, codes, or standards. For the best protection, have CO alarms that are interconnected throughout the home, so when one sounds, they all sounds. The Carbon Monoxide page of the NFPA website has additional safety information.

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