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Another successful Fire Prevention Week (FPW) has come and passed, and NFPA would like to thank all educators, fire service members, residents and employees who worked to get the fire safety message out to their communities.  This past FPW marked the 89th year of the public education campaign, which was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Five decades later, President Calvin Coolidge issued the first national Fire Prevention Week proclamation. 

Can you name the 2nd president to issue a FPW proclamation?  Check out the full listing of historical FPW presidential proclamations on the FPW page.

Fpw blog

On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, Sparky the Fire Dog® (the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association) visited The Blue Bunny Bookstore, a children’s emporium full of books, puppets, toys, and much more in historic downtown Dedham, MA. When Sparky wasn’t outside greeting passersby, he was in the store meeting dozens of children and enjoying hearing his new book, "Sparky the Fire Dog", being read aloud by store manager Janet Reynolds. In the book, Sparky is just a puppy, but he dreams of being a grown-up super hero, taking a group of young animals through their neighborhood to point out fire hazards and give them basic prevention and safety tips.

Meanwhile, back at The Blue Bunny, it was a great day for everyone – Sparky enjoyed all the children, who loved his story and were thrilled to meet him, with lots of hugs and smiles all around. The book is available in major bookstores, at, and in libraries.

Here are photos of Sparky with some of his fans at The Blue Bunny Bookstore.





- Steve Dornbusch

NFPA teamed up with the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition, South Carolina Fire and Life Safety Education Association (SC FALSE), and the Lancaster Fire Department to increase awareness of the power of fire and the difference a fire sprinkler makes.  

The eighteenth annual Lancaster County Safety Fair was held on Saturday, October 15. But this year, it marked the end of FPW with a side-by-side burn demonstration. "Sometimes people just need to see it to believe it," says Les Woods, President of the SC FALSE. He adds; "With our side-by-side comparison, we can show both the danger of fire and the value of having a fire sprinkler system installed."

Approximately 150 families with children were present for the demonstration. All who attended were provided PFW general fire safety educational materials and home fire sprinkler specific materials. When I spoke with a firefighter's wife who was present she told me; "I wish these were installed in all the homes my husband goes to fight fire; it would make me sleep better at night."

Just because FPW is over doesn’t mean that SC FALSE is going to stop providing community awareness on the benefits of fire sprinklers. There are two more side-by-side burn demonstration events at different locations in October, and one more planned in November.

What are you going to do beyond FPW to educate your community about home fire sprinklers? Share your thoughts and ideas here with us.

To obtain resources for ongoing community education visit NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Safety Information site. To obtain a side-by-side burn demonstration kit and other free educational materials, visit the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition’s website.

Maria Figueroa

Red Wings Smoke Alarm project
Firefighters pose with Red Wings player Henrik Zetterberg at the distribution event. Photo:

As featured on, by Paul Peluso

Smoke alarms are always a hot topic when Fire Prevention Week comes around each year, but with dwindling budgets and cuts in manpower, departments must get creative when it comes to how to acquire them.

Ten years ago, Brendan Shanahan -- then one of the stars for the NHL's Detroit Red Wings -- approached the team's front office wanting to do something to remember his father, who was a firefighter, after he passed away

The team's smoke alarm initiative began, and since then it has helped distribute close to 20,000 of the devices to departments throughout southeastern Michigan.

This year, 5,065 alarms were collected -- the most ever during the program's history and almost double the amount collected last year.

In all, eight departments were on hand at an event at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday to receive the smoke alarms.

The largest department -- the City of Detroit -- was given 1,000 devices, while Flint and Saginaw were given 750 each.

The rest of the smoke alarms were distributed to the other departments in attendance and will be further distributed to more, and then installed in households in high-risk and low-income communities.

NFPA offers free smoke alarm installation guide
NFPA Smoke Alarm Installation GuideLooking to kick-off a smoke alarm installation program in your community?  Your program can target an entire community or reach out to a core group of vulnerable citizens. You'll want to involve fire safety advocates from across your community -- from firefighters and safety educators to business leaders and representatives of older adult or health groups. However you choose to go about it, by installing smoke alarms in homes, you’ll be doing your part to make residents and your entire community much safer.

Download a free copy "Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program" guide, a 20-page, step-by-step guide from NFPA that will help you select and train volunteers, solicit donations, and publicize your program.

- Mike Hazell

It's October! That means it's Sparky's favorite time of year - Fire Prevention Week. Don't let the word "week" fool you. Fire departments like to celebrate all month long - and fire safety is important all year round! Sparky's friend Ed Emberley has a special treat for everyone this month - a Step-by-Step on how to draw a fire dog. 

Print the instructions as well as a fun coloring sheet for you and your kids

Cool to Do

Mexico Fire Prevention_edit

Members of the Morelia Municipal Fire Brigade are making Fire Prevention Week presentations to children across the city of Morelia, the capital of Michoacán state in central Mexico. Morelia Firefighter David Laguna talked to children from a local education center during an open house at the fire station. For many years fire safety educators in Morelia and other parts of Mexico have made fire safety presentations using NFPA’s Mis Primeros Pasos®, the NFPA Learn Not to Burn® Preschool Program in Spanish, and other educational materials available in Spanish. To the delight of the children, Sparky the Fire Dog® often makes appearances.

Lisa Braxton

A few weeks ago, NFPA's Dr. John Hall challenged readers of this blog to name songs that have "Fire", "Flame", or "Smoke" in their titles. Thanks to all of you who took the challenge - you came up with some good ones!

  • "Firehouse" - Kiss
  • "Fire" - Ohio Players
  • "Fire on High"- ELO
  • "Lake of Fire" - Nirvana
  • ""Fire it up" - Busta Rymes

As promised, here's Dr. Hall's list of the 100 or so highest-charting popular songs with "Fire", "Flame" or "Smoke" in the title, going back to the late 19th century.

Enjoy this look back on this Johnny Cash classic from 1963, "Ring of Fire".

- Mike Hazell

Did you know that an estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States each year? It was news to me.

A surgical fire is a fire that occurs in, on or around a patient who is undergoing a medical or surgical procedure. It can occur when an ignition source such as electrosurgical units, lasers and fiberoptic light sources; a fuel source such as surgical drapes, alcohol-based skin preparation agents, or the patient; and an oxidizer such as oxygen, nitrous oxide or room air are present at any time. Things that may not burn in room air can ignite easily and burn fiercely in an oxygen-enriched environment. The placement of surgical drapes and the handling of an ignition source (such as placing it on a surgical drape) may increase the chance that a surgical fire may occur.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its partners have just launched the “Preventing Surgical Fires” initiative to raise awareness of the risks of surgical fires and promote the adoption of risk reduction practices throughout the healthcare community. The initiative is providing patients with information on surgical fires including the risks, how these fires happen and things that can be done to reduce the possibility of a fire. Healthcare professionals can find recommendations on preventing surgical fires as well as resources and tools. Videos, checklists, and more have been created for this project.

- Judy Comoletti

As we mentioned in yesterday's blog post on NFPA's Fire Extinguisher Orientation, NFPA has several events planned here at our headquarters in Quincy, MA in honor of Fire Prevention Week. Today, several local pre-school classrooms came by to have fun with Sparky and to learn about fire safety. Learning stations were set up for the kids where they could hear what a fire alarm sounds like, practice "Get Low and Go" under smoke, and see a real fire truck (once it stopped raining!). Check out the photos below from some of the other stations set up for the pre-schoolers. 

Firefighter Joe

At one station, the kids met Firefighter Joe, who showed them what a firefighter in their gear looks like and explained what firefighters do once they get a call from a family who needs help. 

Meeting Place
Next, the children watched a demonstration of what a family should do when they hear a fire alarm; follow their escape plan and get outside to their meeting place. 

Everyone also got a chance to listen to a reading of Sparky's new book

Stop Drop and Roll
The kids all had fun taking a turn at practicing "Stop, Drop and Roll!"

Sparky Photo
Before everyone went home, they got a chance to take a photo with Sparky! 

Watch NFPA's interview with Fire Safety Educator, Becki White, who trains fire departments in Minnesota on how to teach different audiences about fire safety. White also talks about the use of many NFPA materials for Fire Prevention Week, as well as NFPA's Sparky the Fire Dog mascot.


Las Vegas, NV 
Sparky the Fire Dog joins Las Vegas Fire Chief Mike Myers, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and City Council members to discuss Fire Prevention Week and Sparky's 60h birthday.

- Judy Comoletti

Vote Voting has officially begun for NFPA’s College Fire Safety Video Contest.  From now through October 28, visitors to Sparky’s Facebook page can vote for their favorite PSA made by college students across the U.S. and Canada. 

Sparky and the Center for Campus Fire Safety launched the contest during Campus Fire Safety Month in September and asked college students to submit a 30- or 60- second video PSA using NFPA’s fire safety messaging.  Contestants with winning submissions will receive a $500, $250, or $100 dollar Amazon gift card.  That’s a big chunk of change in the eyes of a college student, so take a few moments and vote for your favorite video now!

-Courtney Flynn

US-WhiteHouse-Logo Barack Obama has proclaimed October 9 through 15, 2011, Fire Prevention Week! 

According to the proclamation, "Hundreds of thousands of fires happen in and around American homes every year, killing or injuring thousands of people and causing untold damage to families and communities. This week, we honor the selfless first responders who put themselves on the line to safeguard us all from fire, and we reaffirm the need for Americans to practice fire safety throughout the year."  President Obama calls on "all Americans to participate in this observance with appropriate programs and activities and by renewing their efforts to prevent fires and their tragic consequences."

How are you participating in Fire Prevention Week?  Need some ideas?  Visit

Read the FPW Proclamation.

- Eileen

I had no idea that Sparky had moves like this. West Pierce Fire & Rescue in Washington State, produced this great video for school assemblies. Do you have a video you would like to share?  -- Amy LeBeau



How cool is this? I would love to see a giant FPW billboard when driving down the street. This Fire Prevention Week billboard in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was donated by the Jacksonville Fire Department. Where have you seen Sparky? -- Amy Lebeau

Many fire departments are using side-by-side burn demonstrations during Fire Prevention Week (FPW) to highlight the importance of fire sprinklers in the home and to demonstrate the power of fire.

Side-by-side burn demonstrations are not difficult to put on. The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) provides a free kit designed to provide step-by-step easy instructions to build the props and to conduct a safe demonstration. And don't forget to invite the media and policy makers to the event.

  Click above to see the video

You are encouraged to visit the HFSC fire service section and sign up to become a Built for Life fire department. There are many benefits associated with doing so, including the opportunity to receive stipends to conduct side-by-side burn demonstrations.

Take advantage of your open houses and other events during FPW and throughout the year to educate your community on the importance of living with sprinklers.

If your interest goes beyond education and you would like to advocate for fire sprinkler requirement in new homes, join us at the Fire Sprinkler Initiative®: Bringing Safety Home and sign up to take action.

Maria Figueroa


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Judy Comoletti and Amy LeBeau of NFPA's Public Education division answer your questions about this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign.


Got more questions about Fire Prevention Week? Just click on the "Comments" link below and submit your question. We'll get back to you as quickly as we can!

Facebook-Like-Button-big Are you following Fire Prevention Week on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you should take a minute and do so now! We post photos, updates, news and more on each of those social media platforms - and you'll want to stay as up to date as possible with FPW only 1 week away!


Like Fire Prevention Week on Facebook now!

Follow Fire Prevention Week on Twitter!

We'd also love to hear from you. Be sure to post your FPW photos, questions, ideas and events for others to check out and enjoy. 

-Lauren Backstrom

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