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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.

Image of smoke alarm, followed by bulleted list of safety tipsThe Boulder County Sheriff’s office in Colorado is crediting “Sam,” a 14-year-old dachshund, with saving a family from what could have been a tragedy. Problems started for the family on a recent evening when the power shut off in the home and wouldn’t reset at the breaker box. The family was unable to reach an electrician. According to The Denver Channel, after the family went to sleep later that night, Sam began barking to get their attention. Upon waking, the owners of the home realized smoke was coming from somewhere inside the house as well as “significant heat” in the ceiling, according to the sheriff’s office. The family called 911 and got out of the home uninjured. While the home did sustain some damage, it will be repairable, the sheriff’s office said. The home had no working smoke alarms, so if it were not for Sam, “the fire might not have been detected until it was too late,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Working smoke alarms save lives, cutting the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Smoke alarms should be installed and maintained in every home. NFPA’s smoke alarm safety tip sheet and smoke alarm page have recommendations regarding smoke alarms.

Headshot of Denise HynesDenise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, has been named the 2018 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Hynes will be recognized at NFPA’s 122nd Conference & Expo, the premier event in fire and life safety, this June in Las Vegas. 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. Hynes 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. Hynes has developed teacher workshops, prop kits, and safety events using NFPA programs. An NFPA Remembering When Scholarship winner, she has coordinated the training of more than 700 home health staff at 15 separate training sessions. During Toronto Fire Services Safety Awareness Week activities, she coordinated the delivery of 24 Remembering When/High Rise presentations.

Hynes has worked with the “Famous People Players,” a world-renowned theater company, to co-design a fire safety week theatrical presentation. Fire safety messages come alive in the black light show and Sparky is now one of the stars of the fire safety segment.

She coordinated a partnership with COSTI Immigration Services to design fire and life safety sessions translated into Arabic for Syrians who had recently come to Canada. She delivered presentations to help the newcomers learn how to stay fire safe, using NFPA’s handouts in Arabic on the topics of electrical, heating, and cooking safety and home fire drills.

Both the program for Syrian immigrants and the theater presentation were acknowledged with fire safety awards from the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council.

Image of front of Kidde dual sensor alarm

Kidde is recalling its dual-sensor (photoelectric and ionization) smoke alarms – models PI2010 and PI9010. “KIDDE” is printed on the front center of the smoke alarm. The model number and date code are printed on the back of the alarm. A yellow cap left on during the manufacturing process can cover one of the two smoke sensors and compromise the smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke, posing a risk of consumers not being alerted to a fire in their home.

Side view of smoke alarm showing yellow capConsumers should remove the alarm from the wall/ceiling and visually inspect it through the opening on the side of the alarm for the presence of a yellow cap. Consumers should not attempt to take apart the alarm, open the casing, or otherwise remove the yellow cap themselves. If a yellow cap is present, the consumer should immediately contact Kidde to receive instructions and request a free replacement smoke alarm.

Image of the back of the alarmThey should remove and discard the recalled smoke alarm only after they receive and install the replacement alarm. If no yellow cap is present, consumers should reinstall the smoke alarm and no further action is needed. About 452,000 were sold in the U.S. and about 40,000 were sold in Canada. Consumers can contact Kidde toll-free at 833-551-7739 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

When a fatal fire occurs, the whole community feels it.  From responding firefighters, grieving family members, to neighbors and local citizens.  There is often a heighten sense of anxiety while a cause is determined, and questions swirl as to “what could we have done to prevent this”. 

This scenario is all too familiar to me right now as my local community has recently experiences the 5th fatality in just a few short months.  The most recent happening just blocks from my home.  This time an electric space heater was the culprit, leaving a 94 year old, retired teacher, to be overcome by smoke before our City firefighters could arrive in just minutes. 

And while my “territory” encompasses a vast 16 states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic portions of the US, my heart and home are in this little town nestled in Northern Michigan.  As I read my morning paper with emerging details of the fatality, I couldn’t help but jump on my computer and pull up some resources to share following the fire. 

NFPA’s Community Took Kits are a fantastic resource for outreach initiatives and include helpful tools such as templates for letters to the editor, op eds, talking points, and press releases.  The information is up-to-date and targeted at fire causes including electrical, smoking, and heating.  They also cover topics such as carbon monoxide, smoke alarms, and home escape planning.  For this most recent fire, the letter to the editor on space heaters was packaged perfectly for me to add in my personal information and customize around the season.  In minutes my letter was off to the local newspaper, and information, education, and hope is in the hands of readers.  We often use the phrase that “fire is everyone’s fight”, and if we truly believe that, then we all can, and should, take advantage of the easy-to-access resources available through NFPA to help keep everyone safe.

Chicken in a chicken coop, followed by safety tips

 

Raising chickens as  hobby is popular. Hobby farmers enjoy raising chickens as livestock or pets. Our new Backyard Chicken Coop safety tip sheet gives guidance for protecting people, property and flocks from fire.

Public Education Coordinator Stan Barnes, of the Farmington Hills Fire Department, took a recent news story to heart.  Stan reached out to his fellow firefighters across the state of Michigan sharing, with heavy heart, the news of a fatal accident that occurred at a fire station.  "We share in their grief and realize that as safe as we are, and are endeavoring to be, accidents and unfortunate events still sometimes happen, even to us."  And then, just as a fire prevention specialist does, Stan took action.  He sat down, revisited, and updated the station's Safety Policy for Station Tours, giving more thought to a comprehensive policy.  And perhaps Stan's action will spur on other fire department's to do the same.

Teaching public education is sometimes like coaching very young hockey players; you never know quite how much information is getting through until little Johnny puts the puck deep, gives chase, then passes to a teammate in front of the net to score – just as practised!

 

Capt. Robert Taylor, a paid on-call firefighter for the City of Maple Ridge Fire Department in British Columbia, was part of a team delivering a kindergarten-to-Grade 3 fire safety program in the city’s elementary schools a few weeks ago.

 

“Later that week he was doing some driver training with another member,” said Maple Ridge Assistant Chief Timo Juurakko, “and had an experience that I asked him to put into writing.”

 

 Capt. Taylor takes it from here:

 

“The other day I was working in school doing K-3 pub-ed. As you know, the thought is always in your head – are we making a difference?

 

“Later that evening I was out doing a new driver training lesson when we came across a stranded vehicle in the middle of an intersection. We pulled to the side of the road and went to try and help, along with another female, who had also stopped to help.

 

“We got the vehicle to a safe spot, and the second female returned to her vehicle.

 

Capt. Robert Taylor of Maple Ridge Fire Department in British Columbia

“Just as we were returning to our lesson I heard the second female say, ‘So you are Capt. Taylor. Thanks to you, we have now checked our smoke alarms, and are working on our escape plans. I cannot even leave the kitchen unless I turn off the pans!’

 

“As I looked in the back of her vehicle, I saw a young boy waving. He was one of the students we had been with in school.

 

“Guess we can make a difference.”

 

He shoots. He scores!

Pets on leashes

A dog accidentally started a fire this week while stealing a pancake from on top of a stove in a Southwick, Massachusetts, home.

According to Fox 59, one of the family’s dogs hit the ignition while helping itself to the leftovers. Within minutes, the items on the stove ignited and the home’s fire alarm sounded.

 

The family had a security system that alerted the fire department, which responded and put out the flames.

Pets and wild animals have a part in starting about 700 home fires per year. Roughly three quarters were started by cooking equipment, fireplaces or chimneys, lighting, or candles. NFPA’s Pet Fire Safety tip sheet provides guidance for fire safety with household animals.

Photo of laptop motorized toy fitness tracker and other objects that use lithiumion batteries

Some major airlines no longer accept ‘smart’ luggage with non-removable lithium ion batteries as checked or carry-on luggage. The powerful batteries can potentially overheat and pose a fire hazard during flight. In some instances, smart bags with removable batteries will be allowed on board if the battery can be removed on site and taken on board with the customer. Check with your airline for restrictions.

NFPA’s Lithium Ion Battery Safety tip sheet includes precautions on ‘smart luggage.’

Glacier motif explaining the message revision process

The comment period will soon close for submitting suggested revisions to the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference. The deadline is Friday, February 9, 2018. The comment form is for the purposes of providing substantiated comments on the current message document.

The messages contained in the Desk Reference are used throughout NFPA’s educational programs, curricula, and handouts and provide fire and life safety educators with accurate and consistent language for use when providing safety information to the public.

The Educational Messages Advisory Committee, a group of fire and life safety experts, will meeting in March to review submissions and update and revise the messages. Following the meeting, updated messaging will be incorporated into NFPA materials.

Cartoon Image of Hot Spots for Fire from American Burn Association

Burn Awareness Week 2018 is being observed February 4-10, the first full week of February. An initiative of the American Burn Association (ABA), it is an opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message throughout communities. It is also an excellent way to kick off Adult gesturing to a child not to touch matches followed by safety tipsa year full of burn awareness education. According to the ABA, annually in the U.S. approximately 486,000 people receive medical care for the treatment of burns. In 2016 alone, there were 3,280 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation and another 40,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries. NFPA provides a number of resources on the burn awareness page of the website to help keep kids, adults, and communities safe and aware of potentially harmful situations. The safety tip sheet on children and fires provides a list of steps to keep the family safe. The page also includes videos, resources for kids, a tip sheet, as well as community outreach ideas for the fire service and public educators.

Tom Hufford- Firefighter and Safe Kids Member from Oklahoma- Stop Gas Fires

I have always been a connoisseur of food growing up in a family of cooks who owned a local diner.  At home we would always have a hamburger as a weekend treat fresh off the grill. This week a new commercial started circulating that talks about the difference in flat top burgers and flame grilled but it says they are blowing up the competition.  Working and volunteering with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors for the last 16 years has given me a new perspective on why burns can be so devastating.  I have met many survivors that decided to add gasoline to a burn pile or had a gas can too close when they start a fire.  The results have been fatal sometimes but many more people have a lifetime of surgeries and skin grafts from the explosive nature of gasoline.  In spite of the fact we gas up our cars a couple times a week, and there are warning signs at the gas pumps, many people don't realize the dangers of gasoline.  This fast food commercial dramatizes a gasoline explosion which in too many cases ends badly. To keep your family safe anytime you are using gasoline, follow these safety tips;

  • Keep gasoline out of children's sight and reach. Children should never handle gasoline.
  • If fire does start while handling gasoline, do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
  • Do not use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (i.e., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).
  • Store gasoline outside the home (i.e., in a garage or lawn shed) in a tightly closed metal or plastic container approved by an independent testing laboratory or the local or state fire authorities. Never store gasoline in glass containers or non-reusable plastic containers (i.e., milk jugs).
  • Store only enough gasoline necessary to power equipment and let machinery cool before refueling it.
  • Never use gasoline inside the home or as a cleaning agent.
  • Clean up spills promptly and discard clean-up materials properly.
  • Do not smoke when handling gasoline.
  • Never use gasoline in place of kerosene.
  • Use caution when fueling automobiles. Do not get in and out of the automobile when fueling. Although rare, an electrical charge on your body could spark a fire, especially during the dry winter months.
  • Only fill portable gasoline containers outdoors. Place the container on the ground before filling and never fill containers inside a vehicle or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
  • Follow all manufacturers instructions when using electronic devices (those with batteries or connected to an electrical outlet) near gasoline.

For more safety tips and information visit www.nfpa.org/safetytips or www.stopgasfires.org.

Food on the stove

There’s a good chance that this Sunday’s square-off between the Philadelphia Eagles and the reigning NFL champs, the New England Patriots, will be the most-watched Super Bowl of all time. Last year 113.7 million people watched in combined television and online viewing. Since then, more streaming options have become available. Lots of people viewing the extravaganza means lots of cooking and food preparation in the kitchen. Be sure to put fire safety in your line up.

Kitchen Huddle

Prepare your cooking area. Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains–away from the stovetop. Have a kid-free zone of at least three feet (1 metre) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Penalty Flag

The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, boiling, broiling, or grilling food. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Many smart phones come with a timer.

Defense

Stay awake. Be on alert while cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop. If you have a small grease fire and decide to fight a fire on the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning the burner off. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Touchdown!

Share these and other NFPA cooking safety tips with your family and friends.

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