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The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s Board of Directors has selected Chief Russ Sanders as the recipient of the 2019 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. Sanders is the NFPA regional director for the central region of the United States. The presentation will take place at the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25, 2019, at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.

Chief Russ Sanders

Throughout his distinguished career, Sanders has held leadership positions in numerous national and international organizations and committees, including Executive Secretary of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and the Director of Central Field Operations for NFPA. On the international level, he serves as the President of the United States Delegation to the Comite Technique Internationale de Prevention and d ’Extinction de Feu. He also is the NFPA representative to the European Fire Service, the National Fire Chiefs Council of the United Kingdom, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, and the Global Fire Service Leadership Alliance.

“Russ Sanders has distinguished himself on so many levels and in so many areas within the fire and emergency services,” said Dr. William F. Jenaway, CFSI President. “He has made significant contributions in the areas of public safety and prevention, research, codes and standards, and leadership.”


As the birthday celebration of Sparky® winds down, NFPA would like to call your attention to another helpful resource that educators, parents, and the fire service can use to engage younger generations.


The “Connect the Dots” print-out is just one of several entertaining tools that we highlighted this week in our birthday blog series. The primary focus of this particular piece is to build brain power and challenge kids in mathematics. Children are encouraged to complete math problems so that they can connect the dots and reveal an important life-saving device.


There are two different activity sheets – one that is geared to younger children with less complicated addition and subtraction problems, and a second for older students with more challenging calculations.


As Sparky checks off year 68 and his festivities wrap up, NFPA encourages educators to keep sharing brain-building tips and tools with children all year long. Visit for easy-to-use resources and key safety messages.


March 23rd is National Puppy Day. Established in 2006, National Puppy Day is a “paw-some” opportunity for all dog enthusiasts to celebrate “puppy love” with their favorite fur ball of a canine. The day is also designed to raise awareness about puppy mills and help prospective pet owners consider adoption. In addition, it can be fitting on National Puppy Day to remind ourselves about the precautions that need to be taken with our pets. Simply put, pets can cause fires. Some pets chew through electrical cords. Others bump into or knock over cooking equipment. We can reduce the chances of a tragedy by reviewing precautions included in NFPAs Pet Fire Safety tip sheet. So at the very “leashed,” relax and cuddle up with your adorable puppy pooch, while keeping both humans and four-legged friends safe from fire.



As the 68th birthday celebration of Sparky the Fire Dog® continues this week, NFPA encourages educators and first responders to share the upbeat video, “Firefighters are On Their Way” and inform children about basic firefighter responsibilities and emergency response sequences.


Many kids love firefighters. They enjoy learning about their gear and the ways that first responders jump into action when they are needed most. In this fun-filled video, artists on piano, guitar, and drums set the toe-tapping tone for former PBS Kids Personality Steve Songs to sing a lively tune. Sparky also plays a role in the jam session – sharing important safety messages throughout the clip that runs 4-plus minutes.


Check out the video at Sparky School House – and share it with the children in your community. You won’t be able to get the tune out of your head!


NFPA’s Sparky & the Case of The Missing Smoke Alarms is an entertaining app that teaches children essential messages about fire prevention through creative storytelling and real-world safety questions. The tool is just one of several resources being highlighted this week as America’s favorite fire dog celebrates his 68th birthday.


The curious tale chronicles the exploits that Sparky® and his friends undertake when they learn that a loved one’s home is missing its smoke alarms. Users can choose to read the story on their own or select an audio storytelling feature to learn about the foursome’s search for the lifesaving devices, and their identification of other safety mishaps along the way.


“We all need smoke alarms in our homes,” Sparky reminds the app users. “They let us know if there is a fire.”


To that end, the app emphasizes the importance of people paying attention to their surroundings and being well-informed about safety measures by asking questions such as, “Why does a home need more than one smoke alarm?” or “What would you do in this situation?”


To find out what Sparky and the gang discovered during their search for the missing smoke alarms, to learn lifelong fire safety lessons, and to access helpful materials for educating school-age children, please download Sparky & the Case of The Missing Smoke Alarms at App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Sparky’s birthday may have been yesterday, but the fun continues this week as the iconic fire dog shares fun, educational resources designed to help inform children about fire prevention.


NFPA’s floppy-eared mascot points to an informative and interactive tool today that is well-loved by parents, teachers, and kids. The Sparky Birthday Surprise App includes a storybook that shows the fire pup celebrating his birthday with friends while highlighting fire safety tips in an entertaining and engaging manner. This section has a read aloud feature, and uses different sound effects that help children better understand life safety situations and emergency notifications. For example, the sound of a smoke alarm is accentuated so that children become more familiar with that piece of life-saving fire protection equipment, and the steps that families need to take when smoke alarm sounds are featured, including:


  • Know the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, remember to get outside and stay outside.
  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place.


When learning is fun, kids are more apt to retain knowledge and know how to respond if an emergency occurs. The Sparky Birthday Surprise App reiterates important lessons throughout by asking users questions and providing answers. Additionally, there are games such as “Birthday Shapes,” “Piñata Counting,” and “Sparky Addition” that challenge kids to count, identify shapes, and build brain power. Those that love art will particularly enjoy the app’s “Paint” option. This helpful fire safety resource is available in English and Spanish; and can be downloaded via the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Happy Birthday to Sparky!

Posted by vholub Employee Mar 18, 2019



Everybody’s favorite fire safety dog, Sparky, celebrates his 68th birthday today. Since 1951, Sparky has helped fire professionals, teachers, civic organizations, corporations, youth programs, and the media deliver invaluable messages about smoke alarms, escape planning, and seasonal safety considerations.


In honor of NFPA’s top dog teaching children and adults alike about fire and life safety for six-plus decades, we are highlighting Sparky’s journey and the different resources that have been developed to educate generations about fire prevention.


We start Sparky’s weeklong celebration by inviting you to read how he became America’s iconic fire dog in a storybook, “The Story of Sparky, The Fire Dog,” and by showing you a timeline of his life. As Sparky blows out the battery operated candles on his birthday cake, we ask that you take note of important fire and life safety messages, including:

  • Install working smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of each level of the home. Show all doors and windows and point to the two ways out of each room.
  • Plan and practice your escape drill with everyone in the home.


We have also created a visual walk down memory lane for you to enjoy and share with other Sparky fans. Check it out.

It’s a topic that’s made news headlines and is on the minds of many: how to keep schools safe and secure in the face of mass shootings in the United States. As school administrators and community officials work to protect schools from acts of targeted violence, the School Safety and Security Update fact sheet helps answer frequently asked questions and provides guidance on safe door locking. The fact sheet explains NFPAs current provisions and how they can be safely applied. On the more general topic of safety in public venues, the Safety in Places of Public Assembly tip sheet offers guidance for staying safe in the face of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or some other type of disaster or crisis. The tips sheet offers advice before entering a building, when you enter, and what to do during an emergency.

               NFPA tip sheet safety in public places           

City of Kingsport Fire Department Public Education Officer Barry Brickey has been chosen the 2019 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Brickey has been using NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn® program in the city’s elementary schools since 2006. He has also used NFPAs Remembering When™ program since 2010.

In 2006 he developed a billboard campaign themed with Fire Prevention Week slogans and home fire sprinkler messaging. The Kingsport Fire Department partnered with the state fire marshal’s office for a smoke alarm billboard in October 2018.

In 2011 Brickey won a contest to become the voice of Sparky the Fire Dog for NFPAs “Sparky and the Runaway Robot” and to celebrate Sparky’s birthday. For Fire Prevention Week that year, Brickey participated in a national radio media tour as the voice of Sparky.

He worked with the Holsten Valley Trauma Center Injury Prevention, the Kingsport Police and Contact 211 of Northeast Tennessee, to help reduce call numbers at a high-volume apartment complex.

He is the recipient of the 2006 Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Educator of the Year and the 2018 Tennessee Public Fire Educators Association Bruce Womack Fire Educator of the Year award.

Barry Brickey NFPA 2019 fire and life safety educator of the year

Airbnb and other peer-to-peer hospitality services and vacation rentals are not regulated the same way as hotels. Requirements vary across jurisdictions. Our new checklist can guide you on how to be your own safety advocate before you commit to a rental and after you've settled in.

airbnb safety tips

National Burn Awareness Week, February 3-9, is an opportunity for organizations to mobilize in sharing burn awareness and prevention messaging. Each year, the American Burn Associationdevelops educational resources to assist burn survivor groups, and public safety and public education professionals to provide information to the public. Scald is this year’s theme.
According to NFPA, most fire-related injuries are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds someone in the United States sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment.
American Burn Association statistics show that each day more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms and two children die from burn injuries. ABA provides template proclamations, social media posts and an infographic. NFPA’s Burn Awareness pageincludes videos, scald prevention tip sheets, a toolkit for educators, a technical article, and children’s activity sheets.
Each year, NFPA bestows the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year award on an educator who works for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada and uses NFPA's materials in consistent and creative ways. The recipient demonstrates excellence and innovation in reaching out to the community, and views NFPA as the leading source for fire safety information. Only weeks remain to submit an applicationfor this year’s award. The deadline is Friday, February 15th, 2019.
Denise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, was chosen for the 2018 award. She has been using NFPA programs and materials since 2002. She works in the fifth largest fire department in North America, in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and serves a population of nearly three million residents. Her colleagues describe her as a tireless educator who has an unbelievable passion and enthusiasm for her job.
As her award year came to a close, Hynes spoke with me about her experience.
LB:Congratulations again, Denise, for being chosen for this award last year. What were your thoughts when you found out an application was being submitted on your behalf?
DH:When my division chief advised he was submitting my name for the 2018 NFPA Educator of the Year, my first reaction was "Please don't!” As we all know, nothing in the fire service is about one person–it's all about working together as a team. Upon hearing we were chosen, I was so proud to be able to accept on behalf of ALL of the women and men of Toronto Fire Services who strive to educate as our first line of defense.
LB:What are some of your highlights from the past year?
DH:What a year!! Being presented with the NFPA Award in Las Vegas by retired Toronto Fire Services Fire Chief William Stewart; presenting on our programming to a full house at the Conference & Expo; receiving requests to present at fire services across North America; participating in an NFPA webinar; donating the honorarium to Camp BUCKO, a burn camp for children; meeting wonderful people who have become friends; and receiving messages of congratulations from my peers are just a few of the amazing things resulting from the award.   
LB: Did you have any “I have to pinch myself” moments in connection to receiving the award?
DH: In late 2018, I was honored to be asked to drop the puck at a Toronto Marlie's hockey game, and I was part of a smoke/CO Alarm education campaign with one of my original all-star hockey heroes and two of our current star players! 
LB:Wow! What a year. Is there anything you’d like to add?
DH: It has been an unbelievable, amazing and rewarding year–and a real career topper as I enter my 30th year of service. Thank you NFPA–for the honor, the amazing support over the years, for giving Canada Laura King, [NFPA Canada Public Education Representative]and sending me on my first trip to Las Vegas; I got to see the Grand Canyon and gained a first-hand appreciation of the world famous "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!" tag line. 
Last week, flames ripped through Southside Christian Childcare in Louisville, Kentucky. According to news reports, the employees were able to get all of the children out and into a nearby Home Depot building while firefighters fought the flames.
The fire departmentcredited the employees with saving the children’s lives and stated that the child-care organization’s leadership and accountability are a reflection of a well-practiced fire escape plan.
“The police department’s message is ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ Our message is to have a fire safety plan,” said Jefferson County Fire spokesman Jordan Yuodis earlier this week. “Today is a good example of a fire escape plan and it saved lives.”
All employees received a certificate of appreciation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

As the old saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas! In December, Operation Save a Life worked with Dallas Fire and Rescue to reach at-risk homes with smoke alarm installations. At the after-school event held in the Dallas area, families were able to sign up to have their smoke alarms checked and new ones installed if they needed them. As always, Sparky entertained the kids with his many music videos and
educational videos.
This event was a great ending to 2018 but more so a big beginning for the
Public Education Division at Dallas Fire and Rescue. This year the educatorsOperation Save a Life event held in Dallas Texas at the end of the year was a great way to wrap up the year but also boost work for 2019.
are out getting training, redesigning plans, and reaching more audiences. Fire marshals and educators across Texas will be attending the
North Texas FireMarshal Association Conferencein the coming weeks. They
will be learning about
educational messaging,the latest technology
updates, and how to stay current. It might only be January but Texas is heating up with all the fire prevention activities that are kicking off 2019.

E-cigarette warningElectronic cigarettes, powered by lithium-ion batteries, have ignited or exploded, resulting in severe injuries, including third degree burns, lacerations and loss of body parts. According to a study by George Mason University, injuries have been underestimated by federal agencies. A new report, published in Tobacco Control, found that there are far more e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries in the United States than past reports estimated. 
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found an estimated 2,035 emergency department visits from e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries from 2015 to 2017, which is thought to be an underestimate since not all of the injured seek medical treatment.
The report warns that users and bystanders risk serious bodily injury from unregulated e-cigarette batteries exploding.
NFPA’s safety tip sheet on smoking safetyand the Educational Messages Desk Referenceinclude warnings about the use of e-cigarettes.

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