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Safety Source

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Image of carbon monoxide alarm followed by bulleted list of safety tips

Wasps put a family at risk in Bellevue, Washington recently. Firefighters were called to the home because the carbon monoxide alarms were sounding. The home registered elevated levels of carbon monoxide. Firefighters discovered that wasps built a nest in a tankless hot water heater exhaust pipe. According to a news report, the nest completely blocked off the pipe. Officials want to remind everyone about the importance of having working carbon monoxide alarms in the home and periodically checking all exhaust outlets for obstructions.

Carbon monoxide 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. NFPA’s Carbon Monoxide Safety tip sheet provides additional precautions.

Headshot of Meredith HawesHow do fire departments fit effective messaging into a tweet, infographic, press release, or advertisement? NFPA Regional Education Specialist Meredith Hawes explains in the webinar, “The ABCs of Educational Messaging.” This timely webinar, taking place as fire and life safety educators prepare for Fire Prevention Week, is set for Tuesday, August 28th from 3 to 4 p.m. (EDT). The focus is on effective communication strategies, including targeting specific audiences and refining messaging based on community risk reduction efforts, demographics, cultural factors, and local needs and circumstances. Register today!

A wildfire near homes

The just released 2018 edition of the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference for the Fire Service and Fire and Life Safety Educators includes a new chapter devoted to messaging on safety from wildfires. The chapter includes three sections–Wildfire Prevention, Protecting Homes from Wildfires, and Community-wide Wildfire Safety–and is designed to give the fire service and educators the core messaging they need to address the public on these topics. NFPA’s Wildfire Division provides resources to residents and stakeholders, including infographics, tip sheets, videos, toolkits, training, and reports. The Desk Reference chapter is another tool designed to help reduce risk from wildfires.

The August issue of Safety Source, NFPA’s public education newsletter, is now available. In this issue you will find:Cover image of August issue of Safety Source

  • All the resources you’ll need to raise awareness on fire and life safety during Fire Prevention Week
  • Details on the partnership between NFPA and Domino’s Pizza for fire departments to deliver free FPW materials to residents along with their pizza orders
  • The 2018 edition of the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference for the Fire Service and Fire and Life Safety Educators
  • Tools for National Preparedness Month

And there’s much more. Don't miss an issue! Sign up now and be among the first to get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, Sparky the Fire Dog and more!

Cover of Desk Reference

The 2018 edition of this must-have tool for firefighters and fire and life safety educators is now available and includes new chapters on college and university housing and wildfires, as well as a new section on portable cooking equipment. Fire and burn safety messaging has been updated to help you provide accurate and consistent safety information to the public.


The Maranda's Park Parties are a familiar and treasured summer event in West Michigan, bringing 24 years of fun in the form or entertainment, attractions, food, and tons of prizes to local communities.  One of the greatest assets in the line-up are the resources available from local non-profits, including fire safety information from nearby fire departments.


This year 5 events took place in July, and recently the Dutton Fire Department participated in Gaines, Michigan serving over 9,000 people up with a chance to learn how to keep their families safe, while also sharing what it means to be a firefighter . . . and that means a chance to spray the hose!

The July issue of Safety Source, NFPA’s public education newsletter, is now available. In this issue you will find:

  • A new Fire Prevention Week home fire escape gridCover image of July 2018 Safety Source
  • Safety tips on electrical hazards around swimming pools, hot tubs and spas
  • Sparky the Fire Dog® e-card on staying cool all summer long
  • Hurricane season safety tips
  • A new fire safety lesson plan to help keep teens safe at home

And there’s much more. Don't miss an issue! Sign up now and be among the first to get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, Sparky the Fire Dog and more!

Vision 20/20 just launched their  Fire Safety Materials Generator, created with funding from AFG. The Materials Generator allows fire departments to design their own public education materials based on the latest social marketing research, and customize them to reflect the demographics and fire risks of their community. This online tool makes it easy to brand the materials with your own logo and contact information, and to select text and images that have been proven through testing to have the greatest impact on audiences, especially those at high fire risk.

The messages you’ll find in the Materials Generator focus on smoke alarms for now, but Vision 20/20 will be adding new content on cooking safety in the near future. 

Vision 20/20 believes (and we agree!) that the new Materials Generator will make it easier for fire departments to reach their diverse communities with well-researched materials and methods. By expanding the availability of customized outreach tools designed to educate the public (especially high risk audiences) about the value of and need for working smoke alarms, Vision 20/20 hopes to help create a national in-kind marketing strategy that reaches millions of people nationally. Rallying fire departments across the nation by making it easy and affordable to deliver their message locally is a great start.  

To access the Materials Generator and other Vision 20/20 resources, visit

It brightens the day to hear great stories about fire prevention and public education. Here’s one, from Jeff Corriveau, division chief of public education in Springwater, Ontario.


“Just wanted to let you know about a very successful fire-prevention undertaking here in Springwater, and it couldn’t have happened without the NFPA and Sparky.


“We ran a program called Ask Sparky, with the Grade 1 and 2 students in our township. This program gave the students the opportunity to write a letter to Sparky. Questions could be about the fire service, Sparky the Fire Dog, fire trucks, fire safety, firefighters, or anything fire-related. This increased students’ knowledge of fire safety, and it’s also a fun way to practise literacy skills. We got a huge buy-in from the schools, as this fit perfectly into the Grade 1 and 2 curriculums.”


Essentially, the fire department arranged to visit the classes with Sparky, and explained to students that they could write letters to Sparky, and Sparky would write back; there were prizes too! Teachers collected the letters and contacted the department.


“We answered the letters and returned with Sparky. Sparky handed out the replies and the prizes. The kids and the teachers loved it,” Corriveau said.


Firefighters visited 12 classes, answered 248 letters (Sparky’s typing skills improved greatly over the course of the program!), and teachers have asked that the program run next year. 


“The NFPA,” Corriveau said, “was invaluable in supplying the persona of Sparky and the licensed gifts we got from our Canadian suppliers. Keep up the great work!!”




Kraig Herman


A new theme, and new products, combined with input and inspiration from our stakeholders across the country, have turned this year's Fire Prevention Week catalog into a "road-map for success" when planning for the October campaign, or advocating fire safety all-year-round!  And our newest FPW Advocate - Simon helps to spread the word.  "Look.  Listen.  Learn.  Be aware.  Fire can happen anywhere!"

Watch for the catalog - coming to you soon or check out all of the new FPW resources on-line!

Graphic of an injured person surrounded by fireworks statisticsAuthorities say that fireworks led to a three-alarm fire that destroyed a home in Lynn, Massachusetts, this week. According to NBC10, the fire started as a result of people setting off fireworks and one ricocheting to the second-floor porch, which ignited nearby combustibles and spread to the third floor.

“I was actually sitting on my porch, and they were playing with Roman candles, and it bounced off the telephone pole and landed on the second floor balcony,” said neighbor Alysa Mercado. Fire officials say that 10 people were displaced because of the fire.

In light of the approaching 4th of July holiday, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey is reminding the public to leave fireworks to the professionals. According to NFPA statistics, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, three deaths, and 40 civilian injuries. Direct property damage exceeds $40 million. NFPA’s Fireworks page includes an educational video, statistics, tip sheet and infographic on fireworks safety.

91 fire fatalities to date?  Yes officials in NC are distressed with the fact that more reported fire deaths have occurred through June of this year than for the whole year of 2017.  90 fire departments participated in the first statewide canvass event held last Saturday to bring awareness to the importance of working smoke alarms.  With over 3100 smoke alarms installed in the 1100 homes with non-working smoke alarms and 517 homes with no smoke alarms, many people could sleep better after this past weekend.   Fire department personnel, Red Cross volunteers and other organizations from across the state joined forces with the State Fire Marshals Office to go door to door in high risk areas of towns, cities and counties.  Firefighters could not believe the number of homes that did not have working smoke alarms and hope to continue with smoke alarm canvasses in the coming weeks and months in order to make sure people are protected.  Great job NC!

Three women taking a walk through the neighborhood

June is National Safety Month, a time when organizations nationwide give additional focus to the prevention of injuries and deaths at work, on the roads, in our homes and communities. This year’s theme is “No 1 Gets Hurt.” The public is encouraged to think of at least one change individuals can make to improve their safety this month. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has just wrapped up its focus this week on falls, a leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all ages. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 30 percent of people age 65 and older are involved in falls each year–some of those falls are fatal–while others permanently disable victims, often causing loss of mobility or independence.

NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults can be implemented by the fire service, health-related organizations, service clubs, or social and religious organizations to help communities make that one change: eliminating or reducing falls.

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.

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