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Bronze Statue of Sparky

In an effort to recognize educators who take a lead role in making their communities safer, NFPA presents the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award.

The application deadline is February 9, 2018.

NFPA is looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States and Canada who

  • Work for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office.
  • Use NFPA educational programs and materials in a consistent and creative way.
  • Demonstrate excellence and innovation, reaching out to the community with NFPA materials.

The Educator of the Year receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel and registration to NFPA Conference in Las Vegas in June 2018 for an award presentation, where the recipient will receive the Sparky statuette.

The local fire department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.

Image of high-rise building and safety tips

High-rise buildings have garnered significant attention in the fire safety world over the years. Because of the nature of high-rise buildings, a great number of people have to travel great vertical distances on the stairs to evacuate in an emergency. Historically, it has been said that occupants should never use an elevator during a fire or similar building emergency. However, after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, this position was reevaluated.

Some buildings are better equipped with elevators intended for use during an emergency. These types of elevators will be clearly marked that they are safe to use in the event of an emergency.

Elevators that meet section 7.14 of the Life Safety Code© may be used for occupant evacuation. However, it is never required. Where elevators are used for occupant egress, the elevator shall not count as one of the required means of egress, it shall not be included in determining the capacity of the means of egress, and it shall not be used to satisfy the arrangement of means of egress requirements.  There are numerous other requirements that must be met in order to use an elevator for occupant evacuation during a fire or similar emergency including, but not limited to, marking of the elevator, building fire alarm requirements, building sprinkler system requirements, and two-way communication systems in the elevator lobby.  Regardless of what occupancy type the elevator is in, the requirements can be found in section 7.14. 

NFPA’s High-rise Apartment and Condominium Safety tip sheet covers how to escape during an emergency based on various scenarios.

Cover image of 2017n Educational Messages Desk ReferenceNFPA believes that children should not be trained how to operate portable fire extinguishers. Teaching children to use portable fire extinguishers runs counter to NFPA messaging to get out and stay out if there is a fire. Furthermore, children may not have the maturity to operate a portable fire extinguisher properly or decide whether or not a fire is small enough to be put out by the extinguisher. They may not have the physical ability to handle the extinguisher or dexterity to perform the complex actions required to put out a fire. In the process of extinguishing flames, children may not know how to respond if the fire spreads. NFPA continues to believe that only adults who know how to operate portable fire extinguishers should use them. For safety tips, see the fire extinguishers page of the NFPA website and the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference 2017 Edition.

For the past 13 years, Community Risk Reduction Specialist - Tiffany Bradbury has had fun using art to motivate local school-age kids in Roanoke, VA to think creatively about fire safety.  13 schools participated this year and winners ranged from 2nd grade, all the way up to 8th grade.  According to Bradbury, the 2017 winning submissions were "stunning" and I happen to agree!


8th grader - Libby Jamison


2nd grader - Hollis Allen


8th grader - Sydnee Durham


8th grader - Jennifer Beane

BT Fowler with Sparky the Fire Dog

Moving to an assisted living facility was not the end of a chapter for retired Raleigh Fire Marshal BT Fowler. The transition provided him with a whole new audience for his older adult fire and life safety presentations. Years ago, before NFPA introduced Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults, BT Fowler and other residents of assisted living facility with FPW bannerFowler and Ernest Grant (now former NFPA chairman of the board) taught older adult workshops at the North Carolina Fire and Life Safety Conference. BT was eager to know when NFPA’s training materials on older adults would be available. Ernest made sure that BT was one of the first fire officials in North Carolina to receive the Remembering When training kit. BT used the program throughout his career, adding regular updates as they became available. His work was celebrated in 2007 when the North Carolina Fire and Life Safety Educators presented him with the BT Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award. Fowler is 89 years old and teaches Remembering When at his new home, the Falls River Village senior lifestyle community. And each year a deserving fire and life safety educator is presented with the award named in his honor.

Table and chairs against an exposed brick wall.On Sunday afternoon I was in a meeting at my church, rehearsing for a skit I’ll appear in at an upcoming Thanksgiving-themed service. Before we finished the second read-through, we were interrupted by the shrill sound of the building’s fire alarm. As my fellow “actors” and I entered the hallway leading to the nearest exit, I was pleased to see that others still at the church were quickly heading to the exits as well. Everyone gathered under the basketball hoop–the designated meeting place–at the far end of the parking lot.

As a staff person in the public education division of NFPA, I was ready to advise anyone who tried to leave the designated meeting place to stay there until told that it was safe to go back inside. But I didn’t have to. Everyone knew to adhere to fire safety practices.

It’s important for everyone to have an emergency escape plan when at a public venue, whether it is a place of worship, concert hall, or shopping center. NFPA’s tip sheet–Safety in Places of Public Assembly–outlines what to do when the unexpected happens.

A short while after we’d exited the church, we were relieved to find out from one of the associate pastors that there was no fire. The alarm was accidentally tripped and he had notified the local fire department.

Headshots of the three presenters

Join NFPA Regional Education Specialist Meredith Hawes (pictured at right) and fire and life safety experts for a discussion on the 2017 Fire Prevention Week theme and how it applies to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Meredith will be joined by Communications and Marketing Coordinator for Virginia Hands & Voices Valerie Abbott, and J.D. Jenkins, NFPA Public Education Committee Virginia representative.

Family members who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may face unique challenges in an emergency, putting them at even greater risk during a home fire. And in a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between escaping safely and lives ending in tragedy.

The webinar will be held twice on November 8th and also on November 9th.

2 small dogs wearing Halloween costumes

Even though Halloween isn’t until next week, Gary, the bulldog and Mia, the Jack Russell Terrier, couldn’t wait to try on Infographic with statistics and safety tips pertaining to Halloween safetytheir costumes. Gary, who has a mischievous side, will trick-or-treat for doggie biscuits as a shark. And the cuddly Mia will show her affinity for New England by sporting a lobster costume. Both Gary and Mia belong to Jennifer Berry, the daughter of NFPA’s very own Faith Berry.

Whether you’re having a traditional Halloween celebration this year or one involving your favorite pooch, kitty, or other assorted pet, be sure to stay safe with NFPA’s fire safety tips. The Halloween Safety page of the NFPA website includes tip sheets, statistics, an infographic, activity sheets, and reports designed to reinforce safe behaviors.

Campaign logo

A Virginia podcast producer came up with an innovative way to share this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme with his listeners. Alan Raflo integrated part of NFPA’s Fire Safety Video for Kids (Little Rosalie) into his Virginia Water Radio podcast in an episode about Fire Prevention Week.

The podcast episode also featured a series of safety related mystery sounds. Listeners were asked to guess the sound. The sound of a smoke alarm, dorm fire alarm, and fire hydrant pressure test were included. Tips for preventing fires were listed and 25 seconds of the Little Rosalie fire safety video was played to remind children of what to do in a fire emergency.

Virginia Water Radio includes audio files featuring sounds and music relating to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.

Bulletin board showing a house and pathway made out of construction paper showing how to escape in a fire emergency

Hidden Valley Elementary School won first place in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fire Prevention Week bulletin board contest. Third grade students throughout the Charlotte, North Carolina, school system were asked to create bulletin boards focusing on the 2017 FPW theme: Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!™

The first place win included an awards ceremony, a check for $3,000, student and teacher prizes, a party in celebration, and possession of the traveling trophy for a year. As part of their submission, students provided a video explaining how they created their bulletin board and its relevance to the Fire Prevention Week theme.

Bulletin boards were judged on theme, student input, organization, and presentation. Second and third place, along with honorable mention, and chief’s cup prizes were also awarded.

The contest was sponsored by Response Team 1, Fire Prevention Foundation Charlotte, Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund, and Safe Kids Charlotte Mecklenburg. Partners included the Mecklenburg County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Charlotte Fire Department, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Billboard with the Fire Prevention Week campaign on it

The Kirksville Fire Department in Kirksville, Missouri, along with the Northeast Missouri Health Council wanted to make sure the community didn’t miss this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!™ So they had the campaign logo uploaded to a digital billboard. They rented the billboard near Tina’s Hairport and other commercial enterprises to maximize exposure to the fire safety message.

Several people participating in a roundtable discussion about Fire Prevention Week

Los Angeles Fire Captain with the show hostsA Los Angeles Fire Department official made a national TV appearance this week to talk about Fire Prevention Week messaging. Captain Branden Silverman was interviewed by hosts Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos on the Home and Family show on the Hallmark Channel. He discussed the importance of having working smoke alarms and home escape planning and practice. The program aired October 12th and will air again October 13th. Home and Family is a two-hour daily Hallmark series that offers viewers advice in the areas of home improvement, parenting, health and fitness. The hosts participate in roundtable discussions with experts from various fields with celebrities occasionally participating.

Laura King and Fire Marshal Nichols standing in front of the 2017 Fire Prevention Week Banner

During the Fire Prevention Week launch this week at the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office in Toronto, Fire Marshal Ross Nichols had a special message for residents, urging them to take personal responsibility for their safety in their homes.

“The Ontario Fire Service is doing everything we can to keep people safe from fire, but we can’t do it alone,” said Nichols, pictured above with NFPA’s Canadian Public Education Representative Laura King. “Ontario residents need to make fire safety a priority in their own homes. Fire safety truly does begin with you.”

He also encouraged the public to have working smoke alarms and develop and practice a home escape plan.

Pumpkin carved into Sparky image

Fire Education Vehicle parked outside of the mall

Mall display of FPW materials

A firefighter with Sarnia Fire Rescue in Ontario combined artistic vision with excellent carving skills to present the Fire Prevention Week theme with a Halloween twist. Firefighter Trevor Mitchell carved a highly detailed Sparky the Fire Dog® into a white pumpkin, with a house carved beside Sparky, and put the theme around the rim of the jack-o-lantern. The fun didn’t stop there. Sparky hosted a table of Fire Prevention Week materials at the local mall. His image was also featured on a fire safety education vehicle parked outside.

If you’re looking to carve a Sparky Halloween pumpkin or want to use the craft for a presentation, the Halloween Pumpkin Template on the Sparky website is a great tool for getting started. It includes directions and display suggestions.

Kids looking at Fire Prevention Week material on a table at the open house

The Oakville Fire Department kicked off Fire Prevention Week (FPW) activities on Saturday, September 30th at the fire department training campus. The community was invited to enjoy a barbecue, bucket truck and rescue demonstrations, fire safety games, smoke room simulator, antique fire trucks and the junior firefighter challenge.

Oakville is just the latest stop on Sparky the Fire Dog's FPW visits to Ontario. He shared with the public this year’s theme: Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!™

The Fire Prevention Week website offers a number of suggestions for promoting the campaign in your community, including tips for conducting an open house.

Fire Prevention Week in a Box Value Pack includes brochures, handouts, magnets, stickers, and the Fire Prevention Week banner-plenty of giveaways to help keep fire safety on the minds of community members long after your event concludes.

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