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This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” focuses on cooking safety, as cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. But it’s important to be prepared in case of a fire in your home, no matter the cause. While NFPA’s survey data shows that 71 percent of Americans have a home escape plan, less than half (47 percent) have actually practiced it.


Home escape planning and practice are basic but critical elements of fire safety. Today’s home fires are faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.

 home fire escape grid

 To help be prepared in the event of a home fire and escape safely, download this Home Fire Escape Grid so that you can develop and practice a plan with everyone in your household. Practice makes perfect, so drill your escape strategy twice a year, in as realistic conditions as possible. Find more tips and recommendations for creating an escape plan, along with other valuable safety messages for kitchen safety, on our Fire Prevention Week website.


While many people would like to thank their local fire departments for all they do to keep their communities safe, they often don’t know how. In honor of Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2020, NFPA and Domino’s are teaming up to launch an online sweepstakes that provides a fun, easy way for the public to thank and recognize their local U.S. fire departments. As first responders have continued to serve on the frontlines of the pandemic over the past several months, often putting their own health and safety at risk to help others, the sweepstakes is a timely way to help the public show their support and appreciation.


NFPA and Domino’s encourage any and all individuals to nominate their local fire department for submission into the sweepstakes. Fifteen fire departments will be randomly selected and receive a $100 eGift card from Domino’s. Nominations must be submitted online by September 30; winners will be officially announced during Fire Prevention Week.


We are promoting the sweepstakes on Facebook and Twitter. Please share the posts with your communities to help spread the word and maximize participation!


For the previous 12 years, NFPA and Domino’s have joined forces during Fire Prevention Week through a local program which matches fire departments with their local Domino’s store to conduct smoke alarm checks in their communities. The program is still available for those communities that are interested in participating.

As many households enter the new school year remotely and several family members continue to work from or remain at home, this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen”, is more relevant than ever. Spending more time at home means more time in the kitchen, so up through Fire Prevention Week this October 4-10, we’ll be highlighting resources that can help you make the most of this year’s special circumstances while promoting fire safety.


Cooking together is a great way to bond with the family but adding kids to the mix requires reviewing basic safety precautions. While cooking fires remain the leading cause of home fires and injuries, non-fire cooking injuries are even more common than those caused by the fires. NFPA’s most recent cooking fires report shows that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of children ages 5-9 and 14 percent of children age 10-14 suffered microwave oven scalds.Kids in the Kitchen tip sheet


Our Kids in the Kitchen tip sheet offers simple but important ways to help kids of all ages learn how to participate in cooking activities without putting themselves or others at risk. 


Educators, parents, and other community members have ample opportunities to be innovative in how they share meaningful fire safety messages around the kitchen this year. For more ways that NFPA can help, check out the Fire Prevention Week homepage.

“Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, highlighting the need for people to “cook with care” in the kitchen. And it's less than a month away!


We know current circumstances present unique challenges to promoting the campaign this year.  While COVID-19 may have changed the way we work, play, and learn, it hasn’t changed the need to address the number-one cause of home fires and home fire injuries – cooking.


NFPA’s FPW Out of the Box ideas document provides multiple, creative options to bring fire safety messaging to your communities, such as virtual truck tours and open houses, poster contests, and distributing materials through local take out restaurants.   Here are some additional activities to consider:

  • Our Cooking Checklist has room for your logo and can be downloaded and copied to insert along with local take out restaurants, pizza delivery, school lunch programs, and food pantries, and is available in English, Spanish, and French.
  • Partner with your local grocer for the early morning hours dedicated to Older Adults to disseminate vital cooking safety information and FPW branded materials.
  • Use NFPA’s FPW social media posts which are formatted for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and available in English, Spanish and French. (All social media posts like the one shown to the right are formatted for specific platforms and available in English, Spanish, and French.)


These are just a few ways that fire and life safety educators can be creative and innovative in celebrating Fire Prevention WeekTM, the oldest public health observance on record in the U.S.  


It’s time to “Serve up Fire Safety” for your community!


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest.


Remote school environments, distancing requirements and increased responsibilities for fire departments mean getting creative with public education and outreach activities. As Maria Bostian, Fire & Life Safety (FLS) Educator for the Kannapolis, NC Fire Department notes, “we are thankful to have strong partnerships to rely on to help us find new ways to disseminate our educational materials.”


When schools went remote in the spring, Bostian, who is NFPA’s 2020 FLS Educator of the Year, sprang into action, working with the school lunch program to assure cooking safety and related materials were distributed along with the lunches to students and their families. She also worked with a local caterer to insert FLS safety information into take out dinners reaching across multiple audiences in her community. Her department’s strong ties to the local parks & recreation department means that all three entities are working together to create and sell home pizza kits that will include goody bags of fire safety information as part of their “Pizza and Prevention” event. And residents are encouraged to join the Fire Prevention WeekTM fun by taking selfies around town with Flat Sparky.


FPW is going to look different this year, but fire & life safety educators are showing their commitment to public education by continuing to find new ways to reach their audiences. NFPA’s FPW Out of the Box Ideas document provides multiple options for FLS educators to promote this year’s campaign and year-round fire prevention education.   Use #firepreventionweek in all your FPW Social Media Posts.

Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest.  NFPA’s COVID-19 page has resources to support your FLS education efforts including videos, tip sheets and social media cards.

NFPA and Domino’s have teamed up for many years to support local fire departments and Domino’s stores in conducting smoke alarm safety checks in their communities during Fire Prevention Week. While this program has continued to grow and succeed over the years, in light of the pandemic, we are not promoting the program this October as we typically would.


However, for fire departments that would like to implement the program in their communities, we are offering suggestions to do so safely. The deadline for setting up the program in coordination with Domino’s is September 14. To receive assistance with planning, please email Domino’s contact Dani Bulger. 


We are currently planning to celebrate Fire Prevention Week with Domino's in a unique way this year, so keep your eyes open for updates!

As Hurricanes Marco and Laura approach the Gulf Coast this week, experts are calling their arrival “unprecedented” as the two storms could make landfall within days of each other. Weather experts are also reminding coastal communities that additional storms could still be on the horizon, with late September and October being the peak months for hurricane activity.


To help residents navigate this storm season, NFPA provides the following electrical safety tips that can help reduce the risk for injury before, during, and after a storm:


  • Listen to local weather reports for current weather and flooding conditions
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities and turn off propane tanks.
  • Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous.
  • Treat all downed wires as if they are live even if you don’t see any sparks, and especially if there is standing water nearby. Alert authorities immediately if you see downed wires in your area.
  • If your home has experienced flooding, it’s important to keep your power off until a professional electrician has inspected your entire home for safety, including appliances. Water can damage the internal components in electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and cause shock and fire hazards. Have a qualified electrician come visit your home and determine what electrical equipment should be replaced and what can be reconditioned.
  • If you smell gas in your home or neighborhood, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches, or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
  • In the event that electricity may not be available to your home and you have not experienced any water in your home, generators are a viable option to power some of your small appliances. However, if used improperly they also pose a fire hazard, risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and electrocution.


The following are key guidelines for using a portable generator:

  • Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.generator safety
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings in the building.


NFPA’s safety tip sheet on portable generators provides these steps and more to help keep you safe.


For any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, including after a storm, contact a qualified electrician who can help, and visit our electrical safety webpage for additional tips and resources.


Related information can found on NFPA’s “emergency preparedness” webpage.




Changing the Way We Learn

Posted by avastis Employee Aug 21, 2020

In April 2019, 90 fire and life safety (FLS) educators from various fire departments came to New Orleans, LA for a day of in-person learning. In 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions were rolling in, the possibility of such an event was in question.  Ashley Rodrigue, public affairs director of the LA State Fire Marshal's Office and state public education representative for NFPA describes the situation.


“At first, we thought we could still host an in-person event, just changing up things like swapping buffet lunch for boxed lunches.  But then vendors started pulling out because of travel restrictions and we realized this wasn’t going to happen,” she says.


When Kelly Ransdell, her NFPA staff contact, asked the planning committee if there was interest in moving to a virtual format, the answer was a resounding “YES.”


“Being able to have NFPA on board from the start, with the mechanisms to make it happen, and being the true partner that they’ve been, we were able to still provide our summit,” said Rodrique.


They modified the program and flexed to meet the virtual format. Round table discussions with vendors, for instance, wouldn’t work in a simplified virtual meeting. They selected three topics that were timely and would resonate:  Using social media for FLS efforts; addressing burn-out among first responders; and updates/national outlook from NFPA. Attendance at the event stayed steady at around 70 people, even with the built-in breaks. One benefit of the virtual environment was the attendance of FLS educators from outside LA.


A similar scene was unfolding in Mississippi and Alabama. In July of 2019, MS and AL each hosted an in-person summit with a full house of FLS Educator attendees. This year they joined forces to host a combined virtual summit.  “I had recently attended a virtual training and thought – this is a good possibility for us,” says Tamm Peavy, fire safety educator for the MS State Fire Marshal's Office, and state public education representative for NFPA.


Even with a few technical glitches, the combined summit had as many as 155 people logged into the event, including professionals from other states. The day-long event included planned breaks and allowed for attendees to log in and out for particular sessions, giving them the flexibility to work in between sessions. 


“I would definitely consider a hybrid event in the future. The in-person experience is important, but a virtual option allows people from far away to participate,” says Peavy. COVID-19 has made Peavy rethink many of her future FLS education efforts, especially as schools are less likely to invite fire departments to do in-person education, and fire department open house events are difficult to manage.  Her team is planning for how to engage for Fire Prevention Week this year and using


As the the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and our fire and life safety educators are on it! 


Follow us on Twitter, Sparky the Fire Dog’s Facebook page, NFPA’s Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube to keep up with the latest!


This year’s Fire Prevention WeekTM (FPW) theme of “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” is even more compelling as the incidence of home fires and burns related to cooking climb amid COVID-19 stay at home orders.   With resources in English, Spanish and French, fire and life safety (FLS) public education professionals can use the free resources found on and purchase specially themed products from NFPA to support their FPW activities.


On July 30th, over 1400 people tuned into NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2020: Out of the Box Ideas Webinar  to learn new ways to reach their communities through a blend of traditional, digital and virtual activities.  Featuring Maria Bostian, NFPA's Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year, the webinar offered easy to implement ways to use the tools and resources found on to provide critical, lifesaving education that is fun and engaging for all audiences. This year the much-anticipated Sparky the Fire Dog stuffy has made its way into our product offerings, and FLS educators are finding new ways to reach their audiences amidst community contact restrictions.


John Yacovino, Fire Marshal and Director of Emergency Management in Meriden, CT is just one of many getting creative with outreach efforts.   With funding from a local grant, he purchased 100 Sparky stuffed dolls to have on hand for children who are displaced due to house fires.    As schools are unlikely to have fire service professionals come into classrooms, he is working with his local Board of Education to assure FPW materials find their way to the students and their families. 


Other FLS educators are collaborating with their community partners to provide FPW materials at school-lunch pick up sites and food pantries in their communities.  Some are taking advantage of their artistic sides to create YouTube videos reading The Story of Sparky , delivering NFPA Mini-lessons, and even reaching Gen Z with Tik Toks about fire safety. Our Out of the Box Ideas document can help you and your colleagues plan for  your FPW 2020 efforts. 


Share what you are doing in your community to get the word out about cooking safety using the hashtag #firepreventionweek on social media!

Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and Follow NFPA on twitter @Sparky_Fire_Dog, Facebook Sparky the FIre Dog and Instagram @nfpadotorg to keep up with the latest.  NFPA’s COVID-19 page has resources to support your FLS education efforts including videos, tip sheets and social media cards.

Three townhouse fires in three municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area in 10 days is unusual.


Although there’s no pattern to the fires (and no fatalities or injuries), there are similarities – particularly the extent of fire spread – that should alert residents to plan and practice their escape.


A fire in Oakville, Ont., on Aug. 4 damaged four units in a seven-unit townhouse complex. Chief Paul Boissonneault told a local news website the fire was a challenge to fight because the units backed onto a lake and were inaccessible from the rear.


“One of the units was heavily involved with fire coming out the upper windows and through the roof upon arrival,” Boissonneault said. “The roofline was already breeching on the neighbouring unit to the east.”




A July 26 fire at a townhouse complex in Richmond Hill, northeast of Toronto, affected 16 homes.




Twelve hours later, an early morning fire on July 27 in Stoney Creek, west of Toronto, started in the backyard of attached townhomes and was swept by wind down the roofline. Eleven units were severely damaged.




Andrea Gaynor, an investigator with the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal, told CBC News there was no early detection because the fire started outside and intensified as it engulfed the building.


NFPA recommends that residents have two ways out of every room, that home escape plans be practiced at least twice a year, and that residents have an outside meeting place – a tree or mailbox or a nearby neighbour’s driveway.


If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure someone is assigned to help them.


NFPA offers safety tips on myriad topics. Visit Follow us on Twitter at @nfpa, @Sparky_Fire_Dog and, in Canada, @LauraKingNFPA

Pool Safety

As we swim through the humidity of late July, many households are turning to backyard pools for relief. Ensuring your safety while having fun is of utmost importance. The usual rules apply—do not let children swim unattended, don’t consume alcohol before getting into the pool, and use your sunscreen. The maintenance of your pool is just as critical to your personal safety! Improper storage and handling of pool chemicals often leads to fires, explosions, injuries and toxic fume events—the last thing on anyone’s mind for a day at the pool.


Earlier this month, accidental mixing led to hospital visits and more for two households in Whitman and Agawam, Massachusetts, prompting State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey to issue safety information emphasizing the importance of following manufacturer instructions and ensuring chemicals are stored and handled properly. He stressed the way to avoid burns, explosions, and toxic fumes can be as simple as reviewing best practices, such as:

  • Keeping chemicals secure and dry
  • Putting powder in water—not water in powder
  • Thoroughly cleaning tools and storage locations to avoid accidental mixing

A full list of other tips and considerations can be found on the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services website. While these chemicals are made for water, it is important to remember that small quantities that drip from pipes, cracked windows, or a wet swimsuit can set off dangerous chemical reactions. Following strict guidelines for cleaning tools is also necessary, as even mixing old and new batches of the same chemical can result in unforeseen consequences, which was the case in Agawam, MA.


NFPA 430, Code for the Storage of Liquid and Solid Oxidizers covers the proper care and storage of these powerful substances. And our pools, hot tubs, and spas safety tip sheet offers tips to avoid electrical shock while playing in your water oasis. Between a pandemic, the upcoming hurricane season, and other challenges, first responders have a lot on their plates. Let’s alleviate the burden by ensuring we work and play safely with the tools that can keep a sweet pool day from turning sour.


Save the Date: Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) is going virtual! NFPA is excited to offer this wonderful professional development opportunity for FREE in October 2020.


This event is a must for Fire & Life Safety Educators, Injury Prevention, and Public Education professionals across the US & Canada, featuring four education sessions, networking rooms for chatting with other attendees, and downloadable resources.


Registration details coming soon!  


This year, Fire Prevention WeekTM activities may look different due to continued COVID 19 restrictions. Join us for our FREE webinar discussing the latest data on cooking fires & burns, free resources available on and learn new ways to educate your community when you can’t all be together in one room.   Register Now for the webinar on Thursday, July 30th from 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST.


Time to Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!



Recreational vehicle (RV) living and travel offer the flexibility to live, work, and play while exploring new places. With media outlets reporting a sharp increase in RV rentals this year as people work to travel safely amid continued COVID-19 restrictions, NFPA’s RV Safety Tip Sheet  offers simple but critical advice for enjoying them safely safely, as there are potential fire safety hazards associated with RVs. For example, when a vehicle is used as a structure, the most common area for fires to start is the kitchen or cooking area, followed by the engine area, running gear, or wheel area. As a result, it’s important to fully inspect the vehicle to make sure it’s functioning properly inside and out, and to follow recommended guidelines.


As fire & fire safety educators look for new ways to connect with their communities and keep up with changing trends, NFPA offers numerous resources for public educators to support those efforts, particularly as the summer continues, COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, and the school year approaches. We also have our usual suite of fire & life safety education lesson plans, tip sheets, videos and infographics.


Help your communities enjoy their vacations and adjust safely to the new ways in which we live!

Follow us on Twitter, Sparky the Fire Dog’s Facebook page, NFPA’s Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube to keep up with the latest.

With COVID-19 continuing to place limitations on social activities and engagements, people may increasingly turn to grilling, fire pits, and other at-home outdoor activities this summer, which presents an increased risk of associated fires. Here are five key reminders and guidelines for safely enjoying these activities:


Make sure your gas grill is working properly

  • Leaks or breaks are primarily a problem with gas grills. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • If your grill has a gas leak detected by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and do not move it. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.


Never leave equipment unattended

  • Make sure to closely monitor food cooking on the grill.
  • Turn the grill off promptly when you’re done cooking, and let it cool completely before returning it to its original location.
  • For campfires, fire pits, and chimineas, always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby, and make sure the fire is completely out before going to sleep or leaving the area.


Keep equipment a safe distance from things that can burn

  • Place your grill well away (at least 3 feet) from anything that can burn, including deck railings and overhanging branches; also keep them out from under eaves.
  • Keep portable grills a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets well away from any type of equipment in use.
  • In areas where campfires are permitted, they must be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn. Also make sure to clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.


Use fuel and fire starters properly

  • If you use a starter fluid to ignite charcoals, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on firepits, chimineas, or campfires.
  • For electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire, make sure the extension cord you are using is designed for outdoor use.


If a fire breaks out, call the fire department

  • For any type of outdoor fire that can’t be quickly and effectively extinguished, call the fire department immediately for assistance.


While outdoor, fuel-based equipment like grills, fire pits, and campfires do present potential fire hazards, by following basic precautions and guidelines, these risks can be minimized.

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