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The NFPA Public Education Field Advisors work hard throughout the year to spread the word about all of the wonderful things that NFPA has to offer.  Each year they are busy promoting Fire Prevention Week in their regions.  They present and have exhibits at state conferences and also at larger conferences like Fire-Rescue International in Denver, CO. 

What kind of events do you have that help to promote Fire Prevention Week? 

Gary Honold and Pat Mieszala at FRI in Denver, CO

One of the best parts of my position at NFPA is working with fire department fire safety educators. Most of them have dual responsibilities in their departments, serving as firefighters, inspectors, or public information officers, along with their duties as fire safety educators. Many go beyond their assigned duties, working extra hours and weekends so they can ensure that an open house, a smoke alarm installation program, or children in a burn unit get their attention.
This year, NFPA launched the “Sparky’s Wish List” campaign, an online registry that brings together fire departments and community member to support life-saving fire safety education programs by giving fire departments the NFPA public education materials they need to reach the people in their communities. The fire departments list their needs, and local businesses and citizens can sign up to buy the materials the departments have chosen.
In the early weeks of the campaign, I knew I wanted to support some fire departments. I know the struggles that fire departments have to go through to get money for their public education programs, and I wanted to step up to the plate. I reviewed the list of fire departments that had registered, and I chose three for different reasons. I picked the West Bend, Wisconsin, Fire department because West Bend was the home of my younger brother who passed away, and I wanted to do something in his memory. When I did, I found out that many West Bend firefighters had been patients of my brother, who was a chiropractor. I chose the Durant, Mississippi, Fire Department because I worked with an NFPA smoke alarm installation program in Holmes County, where Durant is located, and I am aware that high-risk groups there are in great need of educational materials. And I chose the Posen, Illinois, Fire Department because the community of Posen had participated in an educational slide show I helped develop when I worked at the National Safety Council in Chicago.
You may have a variety of reasons, both objective and emotional, to help provide materials for a fire department or community, but please chose one or two to support. You will provide a boost for the fire safety education staff and enable them to reach children and adults with life-saving information. Go to this link today to show your support.


NFPA mascot Sparky the Fire Dog® is looking for new ways to get the word out about the new Sparky's Wish List, our online registry that brings together fire departments and community members to support fire safety education programs. In this video, Sparky and Lieutenant Robert Hendrigan from the Brockton, Massachusetts Fire Department discuss ways the department has been letting people know about his department's Wish List.

Local fire departments need your help! Please be generous & help support their fire safety education efforts. Find fire departments in your state that have created Wish Lists for Fire Prevention Week education materials.

If you work for a fire department, there's still time to create a Wish List for your Fire Prevention Week campaign. You can also find tips, tools and resources for conducting outreach and documents you can customize to distribute to businesses, schools and your community.

Smoke Alarm MSThe chirping smoke alarm saga in the Comoletti home continues to happen each night between 12:30 AM and 1:30 AM. I think I have figured out the problem. The alarm chirps around the same time each  night. My house has central air conditioning set at 73° for the night. When my son goes to bed each night he overrides the thermostat to bring the temperature down to 70°. The temperature will stay at 70° for two hours. My interesting discovery is that the smoke alarm in his bedroom begins chirping when there is 40 minutes left to the override. I think it might be the air conditioning. Last night when I woke to the chirping at 12:40 AM, I immediately put the thermostat up to 73°and the air conditioning shut off. Within two minutes the chirping stopped. I went back to bed, with no chirping the rest of the night.

I think the air conditioning vent in my son’s bedroom is causing the alarm to chirp. He puts the temperature down when he goes to bed and sleeps with his door closed. I imagine it must be like a meat locker inside his room during the override. I arrived at work this morning and went to visit Lee
Richardson, the smoke alarm expert at NFPA. We discussed the issue and he agrees with my hypothesis. He further told me that when the smoke alarm battery is getting near the end of its charge, it will be more sensitive to the cold air from the air conditioning. Lee’s suggestion is to replace the battery and my problem should be solved. I will replace the battery tonight and hope the
issue is solved.

Of course I know that a chirping smoke alarm means change the battery. My smoke alarm only chirps in the early morning hour, stops chirping when the air conditioning shuts off and only does it when my son is home. I am determined to find the cause and hope Lee is correct.

This is just another lesson learned that we can all incorporate in our Fire Prevention Week activities.

!|src=|alt=HEATHER BLOG|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=HEATHER BLOG|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017744483afc970d!A couple of weekends ago my 16-year-old goddaughter flew in from Southern California. Heather had never been to the east coast before so I put together an ambitious list of activities for us. We hopped aboard a red trolley on her first day in town, the conductor providing a narrated tour that included Kennedy family lore and Boston’s Revolutionary War history. Then, with the wind in our hair, we settled onto the top deck of a ferry for a late afternoon harbor cruise. The next day we window shopped at designer boutiques and art galleries along Newbury Street, known as the “Rodeo Drive of the East.” On a whim we ventured into a chic gift shop and bought identical retro-1960s sunglasses. Her stay concluded with an old-fashioned church cookout so she could see how non-tourists live. But before we did any of those things I reviewed with Heather the escape routes from my condo unit and the exits from the building. I talked to her about the importance of fire escape planning and practice as this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme advises us. Heather’s stay was a reminder of the importance of reviewing fire escape plans with guests and visitors and the role of parents and caregivers in discussing sleepover safety with their kids. So during her stay, Heather was not only a student of New England culture and history, she also got an important lesson on fire safety.[ |  ]

As Fire Prevention Week approaches, we must remember that fire prevention is something we need to emphasize all year long. NFPA encourages everyone to continue to strengthen their prevention and safety campaigns and spread community awareness to help keep residents stay safe and prevent tragedy throughout the year.

NFPA is your source for safety information and offers information and tools to help teach all audiences important fire and life safety issues.  There are safety tip sheets, community tool kits, education programs, Safety Source Newsletter and so much more. 

What are some things you do beyond Fire Prevention Week in your community?  Do you visit the schools in the spring for career day?  Are you involved with summer camps in your community?  We want to hear from you!

Fire prevention is a year round event


As a child I loved getting the Scholastic magazine in school. All the  kids looked forward to seeing what was in it every month. Again this  Fire Prevention Week, NFPA has teamed up with Scholastic to create comprehensive fire-safety materials for preschoolers through grade 5.   Lesson plans, worksheets, a great poster and take-home activities  specifically created for kids.

In the classic story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls into a strange world and must find her way home. This program, "Have Two Ways Out," brings together Sparky the Fire Dog and Alice into Wonderland where they need to find two ways out. Students learn the importance of having a home fire escape plan which includes two ways out of every room. NFPA is excited to offer this program on the Fire Prevention Week website (in English and Spanish) for teachers, parents and educators to download free of charge. The great thing about the materials is you can do some of them or all of them. Take a look and let us know what you think. BESTLast week I walked into a classroom full of strangers, joined them in a circle, pointed my folded hands toward the ceiling in my best James Bond impersonation and waited for my signal to begin. “Wah!” I shouted on cue, aiming my extended arms at the forehead of a guy on the other side of the circle. “Wah!” he shouted back. “Wah! Wah!”  I squawked at another participant when it was my turn again. She gleefully accepted my exclamation and flung it at someone else. I am shy, reluctant to leave my comfort zone, but shrieking like a crow, saying funny words, and slicing the air with wild gestures was delightful. I had not only survived but thrived in my first warm-up exercise in Improv 101. When the six-week course is over I don’t expect to be headlining shows at the local comedy club but I hope to improve my presentation skills. Improv teaches you how to be more comfortable in front of an audience,  speak with a purpose, improve listening techniques, and become more spontaneous–all important skills to have whether you’re giving a talk for Fire Prevention Week, or presenting one of NFPA’s education programs, or safety tips and fact sheets. Best of all laughing is required in Improv. It happens at least every five minutes, a reminder to us who make presentations to lighten up, put away the self-consciousness, and make learning fun.

Don Bliss, a member of NFPA’s Standards Council, past fire marshal for the state of New Hampshire, recently served as the interim fire chief in Somersworth, New Hampshire. More than 1,000 Indonesian immigrants live in Somersworth, and Bliss got involved with the Indonesian community through a Health and Safety Council of Strafford County emergency preparedness grant project for the Indonesians of Somersworth and Strafford County. According to Samantha Brann, Community Programming coordinator for the Health and Safety Council of Strafford County, the grant focused training responders on cultural competency in the Indonesian community, teaching preparedness and fire safety to members of the community in Indonesian.
Chief Bliss contacted NFPA and asked if we could help with fire safety information for the Indonesian community. We responded enthusiastically by adapting our easy-to-read materials on escape planning, cooking safety, electrical safety, and heating safety. I had materials translated, and artist Linda Pierce created illustrations depicting Indonesian people demonstrating the safety messages.
The illustrations and translations were reviewed by people from the community, through the leadership of Pastor Joppy Warren of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rochester, New Hampshire.
All materials are now available on NFPA’s website. You can get these and materials in other languages to use in your Fire Prevention Week programs or ongoing public education activities. NFPA also shared the materials through the Interfaith Council of Indonesian People and the Regional Planning Network of Strafford County.


Sparky the Fire Dog® was spotted at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Summer Shootout Series to promote Fire Prevention Week and to give out invitations to Kannapolis Fire Department (North Carolina) Fire Prevention Week Open House. A Kannapolis Fire Department firefighter (Kevin Aube) is also a Legends  car driver so Sparky went with him into the stands to visit the families and to talk to them about fire safety. 

We love to see what fire departments are doing in their communites to promote and spread the Fire Prevention Week message - Have 2 Ways Out!  How are you reaching out to your community to promote FPW?  We want to hear from you!


Sparky at Charlotte Motor Speedway promoting Fire Prevention Week!

Sparky at Charlotte Motor Speedway promoting Fire Prevention Week



Back-to-school cool

Posted by amylebeau Employee Aug 15, 2012

Make your own back-to-school bulletin board on It is a bulletin board with a twist; a stylish way to hang  all those papers that come home from school. If you are looking for fire-safety activities to hang on your bulletin board, check out the FPW Kids page. Screen Shot 2012-08-15 at 4.57.38 PM

Are you looking to get energized for Fire Prevention Week? The Massachusetts Public Education Conference is for you. The 2012 Conference is being held September 27-28 at the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center, Westford, MA. “Preparing for a Great Adventure” includes sessions on hoarding; teaching and interacting with children who have autism; working with scout groups; juvenile fire setting; elder abuse, protective services and the fire service; cooking safety and more. This conference has something of interest to everyone from fire safety educators to classroom teachers. Register now for this dynamic conference.

Myrtle Baptist Church PhotoFire safety is woven into the fabric of my church, Myrtle Baptist, in Newton, Massachusetts. Founded by former slaves, the church was built in 1875. In 1897 the building was destroyed by fire. This could have been devastating to the young congregation but the members rallied and within a year rebuilt the church on the site of the original. Descendants of those early members, as well as transplants from other states, like me, serve on our safety committee. We remind the congregation of the fire and its place in the church’s history and emphasize the importance of fire safety education. We hand out Fire Prevention Week materials, maps of each level of the church, which include exits and the safe meeting place, and conduct fire drills that can occur anytime during worship service.  Not only do members know how to exit the building whether they are in the balcony one Sunday or on the main level the next, they take those fire safety practices home with them and share them with family and visitors, extending the reach of the fire safety messages.  Last Sunday we invited the firefighters and police officers of Newton to our service as our honored guests. Members had an opportunity to get acquainted with the professionals who will come to their aid in an emergency. These fire safety education measures can be useful not only at places of worship but at other types of occupancies where groups of people or organizations meet.

At NFPA, at least a half dozen people, including myself, play an instrument or sing in a band or a group.  And I’ve met many firefighters around the country who play in bands.  Some of those firefighter musicians also use their musical talent to reach children or adults with their fire-safety messages during Fire Prevention Week (FPW) and other times throughout the year.  In past years, the NFPA Public Education Division was involved with the Greater Boston Fire Safety Coalition, which conducted fire station open houses with interactive learning stations for children preschool through third grade during Fire Prevention Week.   After the children would go the learning stations, our NFPA music group would lead the class in a sing-a-long of Learn Not to Burn® songs.  Recently, I have led co-workers’ children in singing fire safety songs at a Sparky birthday party.

Do you play in a musical group?  Have you used your musical talents to teach fire safety?  Tell us your stories and send us photos of your music groups.  Even if you do not play an instrument or sing, you can still use the Jim Post “Two Ways Out” song that complements this year’s FPW theme, “Have Two Ways Out”.   You can also download MP3 files of more newly mixed Jim Post fire safety songs from NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn Preschool and Kindergarten program lesson plans on NFPA’s website. 




Fire Prevention Week (FPW) is fast approaching but across the country, students are going off to college and moving into residence halls, dorms, off-campus housing, sororities and fraternities. For many of these students, it will be the first time they will be on their own, but with this independence, comes responsibility. It is important students realize they are now responsible for their own safety. The last fire safety education they may have had was back in grade school, but both on-campus and off-campus students should understand the risks of fire and know the preventive measures that could save their lives.

Educating students on what they can do to stay safe during the school year is important and often overlooked. College students living away from home should take a few minutes to make sure they are living in a fire-safe environment with our updated easy-to-read tip sheet.

How do you reach out to the colleges in your community?  We’d love to hear from you.


Sparky TV is here

Posted by amylebeau Employee Aug 9, 2012

Sparky_column_buttonHave you noticed that Sparky the Fire Dog is now a puppet? This Fire Prevention Week you can see Sparky like you have never seen him before. The lovable, and very fire-smart puppet, has his own channel on

Check out Sparky TV.  You won't see him on the horizontal bars or swimming next to Michael Phelps but you will see him in his first music video and talking about outside meeting places, the sound of the smoke alarm and more. These 30 second video clips are great for the classroom, at home, open houses and community presentations.

Sparky in Pocasset
Sparky the Fire Dog® was a big hit at the Wenaumet Bluffs Annual Field Day Parade in Pocasset, MA. Sparky survived one of the hottest days of the summer. He had fun greeting everyone along the parade route with high-fives, lots of waves and many photo opportunities. At the end of the parade, Sparky was thrilled to receive the first place prize along with a big bowl of water! Sparky the Fire Dog is a great addition to any community event. As we approach Fire Prevention Week, we hope to see more opportunities for Sparky to spread the 2012 Fire Prevention Week message – Have Two Ways Out! Share your photos of Sparky the Fire Dog in your community. We want to hear from you.

How does an intellectual disability affect a person’s ability to comprehend new information, cope with life’s demands, and practice safety skills? What are the varieties of ways people with intellectual disabilities learn new concepts? And what teaching styles work best?  The Fire Prevention Week Fire Safety at Home Lesson Plan, designed for people with intellectual disabilities, addresses these topics in a detailed guide for teaching basic fire safety skills.
The lesson plan also includes color illustrations and recommendations for class size, presentation format, and length.
The Fire Safety at Home Lesson Plan reminds us of the importance of making sure everyone is included in the home escape plan, practices the home fire drills, and knows how to respond in a real emergency.

As reported on the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) has introduced a new series of three public service announcements (PSAs) spoofing Hollywood myths and is looking to partner with fire departments to spread the message.




How does an intellectual disability affect a person’s ability to comprehend new information, cope with life’s demands, and practice safety skills? What are the varieties of ways people with intellectual disabilities learn new concepts? And what teaching styles work best?  The Fire Prevention Week Fire Safety at Home Lesson Plan, designed for people with intellectual disabilities, addresses these topics in a detailed guide for teaching basic fire safety skills.
The lesson plan also includes color illustrations and recommendations for class size, presentation format, and length.
The Fire Safety at Home Lesson Plan reminds us of the importance of making sure everyone is included in the home escape plan, practices the home fire drills, and knows how to respond in a real emergency.

When you first think of Fire Prevention Week (FPW), you probably think of an event to reach children.   You might have visions of red plastic firefighter hats, school fire drills, and children learning fire-safety behaviors in the classroom. The truth is that Fire Prevention Week is for all ages and reaching the older adults in your community during this time is particularly important.  Adults age 65 and older make up about 12 percent of the population in the United States and Canada.

 Compared to the general population, however, older adults are twice as likely to die in a fire.  Also, each year, 30 percent of people age 65 and older suffer a fall.  In fact, falls are the leading cause of death from unintentional injury among older adults.

NFPA provides detailed information on the FPW site on how to set up an open house for older adults in a variety of venues, such as the fire station, senior center, public library, place of worship, or parks and recreation facility.  You can set up interactive stations to make learning fun and meaningful for older adults.  Some examples of themes for your stations include escape planning, what’s new in smoke alarms, cooking safety, and fall prevention.  Download free colorful new posters in English and Spanish on escape planning, cooking safety, smoke alarms, and heating safety to give to older adults to hang in their home, places of worship, or senior centers You can also download copies of NFPA’s Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults PowerPoint presentations for free and learn how to obtain the complete Remembering When curriculum.

If you run an open house share with us your experiences and send us some photos so we can post them on our website.


Perfect in every way!

Posted by aprilbriggs Employee Aug 2, 2012

As a former classroom teacher, finding great books or stories that promote fire safety were few and far between.  Our new FPW short story, “Perfect Penelope” is great for shared reading and sparks discussion about fire safety and FPW. 



“Perfect Penelope” can be found on our FPW Kid’s Page.  Penelope was perfect, or so she tried to be. What makes her perfect, you might wonder? Find out what happens to Penelope when Firefighter Chris comes and visits her second grade class.

Perfect Penelope short story for Fire Prevention Week


It's all about the kids!

Posted by amylebeau Employee Aug 1, 2012

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) is an opportunity for fire departments to reach all members of their community with life-saving information. Our FPW web site makes it easy to reach all audiences. That being said, we know that children are a big part of your outreach. New this year on - the FPW Kids' page. Kids can take the "2 Ways Out Challenge" and win a small prize, print out some great handouts, read our new short story and more. We will be adding to the page throughout FPW so keep checking back. Let us know what you think of the new page. I'll make sure to pass it on to Sparky!

FPW 2012 Quiz
We've developed a short quiz to test your fire safety knowledge as part of this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign! Take the quiz on our website and afterwards, continue to click through to see what the correct answers were to any you may have answered incorrectly. Also, be sure to share your results on Facebook and Twitter.

Take the Fire Prevention Week quiz now!

For further educational material and tip sheets on having two ways out, the leading causes of home fires, information about protecting your home and families with life-saving technologies, and the importance of home escape planning, visit the Fire Prevention Week website.

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