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Often when you talk about community safety with people, the first thing that comes to their minds is crime prevention. People, particularly those who live in high-crime areas, think of how they can protect themselves from intruders, both inside their homes and out. Having been attacked and stabbed outside my apartment building late at night in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago many years ago, I can certainly relate to people’s fear of crime.
However, some of the things that people use to keep intruders out, including security bars on windows and doors, can make it impossible for them to escape from a fire in their homes. During Fire Prevention Week 2012, we are reminded to have two ways out. The 2012 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code, requires a secondary means of escape that “shall be an outside window or door operable from the inside without the use of tools, keys or special effort…” Windows that have security bars, grilles, or window guards should have emergency release devices.

To help spread the message about security bars, download the free Safe and Secure educational brochure and a Safe and Secure community guide on security bars and quick-release devices and related educational messages to share with people in your community. You can also download a free brochure on keeping exits free of furniture, hurricane screens, locks, and other items. SecurityBarsArtwork

The Thomasville North Carolina Fire Chief Martin Dailey, the Public Education Team, and the Fire Corps recently attended the Thomasville City Council Meeting. At the meeting they received a proclamation from Mayor Joe Bennett proclaiming October 7-13, 2012 Fire Prevention Weekthroughout the city.  It is wonderful to see the support for fire departments as they teach fire safety in their communities.

Thomasville Fire FPW Proclamation Photo 1


!|src=|alt=Mfd_patch_with_red_background|style=width: 200px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Mfd_patch_with_red_background|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee3c569cb970d!We want to send our congratulations out to the Marion Fire Department in Iowa for recently being awarded the 2011 Life Safety Achievement Award, presented jointly by the National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research & Education Foundation and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.

Since 1994, the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized local fire prevention efforts that have contributed to reducing the number of lives lost in residential fires. The Marion Fire Department qualified for this award in 2011 because it recorded zero fire deaths in structures. In addition, the department was able to demonstrate the existence of an active and effective fire prevention program and a clear commitment to reducing the number of fires in the homes in their community.

“It is humbling to know that our continuing efforts in fire prevention and community safety have been recognized,” said Jason Hansen, District Chief/Fire Marshal. “The City of Marion strives to be one of the safest communities in Iowa and it is nice to know the Fire Department is doing our part to reach that goal.”

In 2011, the Fire Department dedicated over 1,600 hours to fire prevention activities. The Fire Prevention Bureau focuses its efforts on education, plan review, inspection, code enforcement and fire investigations. Last year they expanded their educational offerings to include a residential sprinkler trailer, “Play Safe! Be Safe!” kits, new educational handouts, and initiated junior high outreach programs. 

With Fire Prevention Week coming up October 7-13th, we thought this was an excellent reminder of the importance and benefit of a fire prevention education program!

BlogLooking for some great activities for Fire Prevention Week? The Sparky the Fire Dog web site has a ton of free downloads. Here are just some of the things you will find:

  • How to draw a fire dog
  • Make a fire-safety bookmark
  • Sort It Out, an activity that helps preschoolers identify things that are hot and not
  • Step-by-step on how to create a home fire escape plan
  • My all time favorite - how to make an origami dog.

These resources can be found on all year round. Let me know which one is your favorite.

Surgical Fire
The National Fire Protection Association, FDA and 22 other organizations are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012. The initiative was launched on October 13, 2011 to increase awareness of factors that contribute to surgical fires, disseminate surgical fire prevention tools and promote the adoption of risk reduction practices throughout the healthcare community.

Surgical fires, which are preventable medical errors, are fires that occur in, on, or around a patient who is undergoing a medical or surgical procedure. An estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States per year, some causing serious injury, disfigurement, and even death. Fires also start and are put out before they reach the patient.

As consumers, we need to know the risk. Information for Patients on Surgical Fires is available to make us aware of the potential risks of surgery such as the head and neck area surgery pose a greater risk of fire due to the potential for an oxygen-rich environment around a patient’s face from a breathing mask, surgical drapes can catch fire, and we should ask if staff is trained in preventing, recognizing and putting out surgical fires. Learn more about the Prevention Surgical Fires Initiative, consumer information, and the steps staff can take to prevent these devastating events.

Since 2006, NFPA has partnered with Scholastic, Inc., the popular producer of educational literature and programs for children, to develop and distribute lesson plans and activities tied to NFPA's Fire Prevention Week (FPW) themes. The two organizations plan to address this year's theme, "Have Two Ways Out," and reach an estimated 10.6 million children via take-home packages, activity sheets, and other materials produced in both English and Spanish that highlight escape planning.

Judy Comoletti, NFPA's division director of Public Education, underscores the successes of such a partnership in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal. "Typically, our program receives high praise, with more than 90 percent of the teachers rating the program very to extremely useful," she says. "Teachers like the interactive aspects of the program."

Learn about these tools and other aspects of FPW in NFPA Journal. And watch the following video of Comoletti giving an overview of all the free content:

-Fred Durso

!|src=|alt=GROUP PHOTO GOOD|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=GROUP PHOTO GOOD|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017d3c3835cb970c!The Fire Safety for People with Disabilities Task Force gathered for a two-day meeting in the Washington, D.C. area last week. Formed about 10 years, the task force is made up of fire and life safety specialists, leaders of organizations that advocate for people with disabilities, and representatives of burn survivor groups. The Task Force advises NFPA’s Public Education Division on developing new fire safety educational materials and programs to ensure the inclusion of fire and life safety messages for people with disabilities and also seeks to ensure that fire safety educational materials depict people with disabilities in a positive manner. In recent years the Task Force advised the public education division in the development of the Safety at Home brochure, the I Know My Fire Safety Plan  fire safety social story for children who have autism, the Home Safety for People with Disabilities tips sheet, and the How to Teach People with Intellectual Disabilities overview and lesson plan for Fire Prevention Week . Over the years, Task Force members have served as panelists on educations sessions at the NFPA Conference. At last week’s meeting, new members–including representatives of a number of national organizations that advocate for people with disabilities–were welcomed. The Task Force looks forward to continuing its work to make sure that everyone escapes safely.


!|border=0|src=|alt=Legoland|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Legoland|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3204373a970b!
[NFPA | http;//] is pleased to be the  fire safety partner of LEGOLAND® Florida and is the official sponsor of "The Big Test",

an acrobatic, comedy show in which a cast of real characters goes

through a series of hysterical antics as they try to become

firefighters. The show runs

four times a day at the LEGO® City Stage and will be seen by thousands

of kids and families during the life of this arrangement.


As part of our partnership we work on a number of other activities to reinforce the importance of safety and are excited to share one of LEGOLAND's newest promotions. As a special thank you, LEGOLAND Florida is offering HERO Days to everyday heroes that work tirelessly to protect and serve our cities across the country. For a limited time, police officers, fire fighters and EMS employees can purchase a single day admission ticket to LEGOLAND Florida for only $30 and a LEGOLAND Water Park combo ticket for only $42.


These heroes can unwind with special family time and experience LEGOLAND Florida’s more than 50 rides, shows, attractions and an all-new water park for a savings of $45 per ticket. All tickets for HERO Days must be purchased and redeemed by 10/31/12. Offer valid for LEGOLAND Florida parks. Tickets must be purchased through appropriate national professional organizations including NFPA. You can find out more at .

If you go, check out The Big Test and let us know what you think.


The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) is teaming up the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, to focus on the importance of fire escape planning and practice and to “Have Two Ways Out!”

According to a write-up on, city fire officials are reminding residents that they have much less time than most people think to escape a fire. That's why it's vital to plan and practice a home escape route.

During the eight open houses planned in San Diego during Fire Prevention Week, activities will vary from station to station. Among the plans are fire station tours, interactive demonstrations with the Kid’s Fire Safety Trailer, CPR demonstrations and firefighter exercises such as rappelling. Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention. There will also be stickers, brochures, magnets, hats, and Home Fire Escape Plans, provided courtesy of the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation, San Diego Gas and Electric and HarBro Construction and Consulting.

San Diego open houses

School decorationsJust in time for the new school year, the new issue of NFPA Journal includes information on safely decorating classrooms using provisions in NFPA 101, Life Safety Code.

According to the code, bulletin boards, posters, and paper attached directly to walls should only cover a specific percentage of the wall area. Adorning classrooms with material that's highly flammable or explosive in nature should also be avoided. The Life Safety Code also provides specific instructions for movable walls and partitions, paneling, and wall pads.

"The authority having jurisdiction shall impose controls on the quantity and arrangement of combustible contents in assembly occupancies to provide an adequate level of safety to life from fire," says NFPA Journal columnist Chip Carson. "Controlling combustible decorations is an important part of fire safety. The fall is a time of many celebrations, as well as the beginning of the school year, and enforcing the code requirements is necessary to keep everyone safe."

For more information about decoration requirements found in the Life Safety Code, read the column in NFPA Journal.

SafetySource0912The September 2012 issue of "Safety Source", NFPA’s monthly public education e-newsletter, is now available. This issue includes information on NFPA's partnership with Scholastic for Fire Prevention Week, including a new classroom exercise that teaches students the importance of having a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room. This activity is available for free on our Fire Prevention Week web site.

The issue also includes a new safety tip sheet - this time, on car fire safety. We also include instructions on how to create fun stories with the roll of the dice.

Sign up today to receive our free monthly e-newsletter. "Safety Source" will give you the latest information on happenings in the public education division, Ready for Risk Watch® news, Remembering When™ activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, life saves, and more.

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The time has come to choose your favorite and vote to help them win a trip to LEGOLAND Florida! Over the last month, [NFPA and LEGOLAND® Florida asked members of the public to submit a video |] that highlighted their friends and families doing their best rendition of the theme song, “Put the Wet Stuff on the Hot Stuff” from The Big Test show at LEGOLAND Florida.

We have narrowed down the submissions to 10 finalists - and now it's your turn! From now through September 28th, you can vote once per day for your favorite video. The winner will be announced in a special presentation at LEGOLAND Florida. 

The winning video will receive LEGOLAND Florida two-day multi-park tickets for four people, two nights of hotel accommodations for four people, and $2,000 towards travel expenses. Good luck to all of our finalists!

Vote through Facebook , or through our microsite if you do not have a Facebook account.&#0160;</div>

Ad Week
We all know and love Sparky the Fire Dog, and now he is being recognized as one of the country’s top-notch mascots in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in NYC. Before he marches down the famous street in October, you can vote for him as your favorite icon!

SparkyVoting is now open . Established during the inaugural Advertising Week, the inductees are voted on by the general public and the winners are announced during Ad Week, October 1-5th. Let's help Sparky be chosen as one of this year's winners!

Help Sparky out by spreading the word and be sure to vote for Sparky now! you plan your Fire Prevention Week activities, do you make an effort to reach those people in your community that are at highest risk of dying in a fire or are hard to reach? This population can include older adults, young children, people in low-income communities, smokers, people with disabilities, and people whose main language is not English.

Several fire departments plan to focus some of their activities on high-risk populations during this year’s Fire Prevention Week. For example, the Chicago Fire Department will hold a three-hour Senior Fire Safety Academy event for older adults, and the Columbus, Ohio, Fire Department will work with the Columbus Community Relations Commission at the Best Neighborhood Practice event. The Columbus Fire Department will hold workshops with the police to showcase not only fire safety but relationship building and the reasons we do what we do. The target audience will include mostly adults from high-risk communities.

The Memphis Fire Department plans to hold open houses at various fire stations in high-risk areas for the entire seven days of Fire Prevention Week and will blitz these neighborhoods with fire safety information.

The Milwaukee Fire Department will work with the Milwaukee Bucks on a poster-to-billboard contest. Students from kindergarten through eighth grade will be asked to draw pictures about fire safety, and the winning drawings will be blown up into a billboards near the winners’ schools during Fire Prevention Week. All the winners will have lunch with the fire chief and go to a Milwaukee Buck basketball game along with their classes. Players from the Bucks will install smoke alarms in target neighborhoods with fire companies.

The Miami Fire Department is partnering with Dominos’ pizza in their fire safety campaign. They will target the neighborhoods near fire stations with the highest incidence of fires; these neighborhoods are primarily low-income, and Creole or Spanish are the primary languages in most.

Edmondton, Alberta, Fire Rescue Services will conduct a fire drill in a senior residence.

NFPA is providing lots of ideas and resources to use in reaching high-risk populations on the Fire Prevention Week site. Click here to learn more.

Phoenix  Society Executive Director speaks following the Walk of Remembrance at World Burn Congress

I spent the last couple of days at one of the most inspirational events, not just for those devoted to fire and life safety, but for anyone. The Phoenix Society’s 24th Annual World Burn Congress continues through tomorrow in Milwaukee, WI. The event brings together more than 800 burn survivors, family members, friends, caregivers and advocates to support and learn from each other and to learn about and promote programs, policies and legislative action that can prevent fires and provide resources to those who have been effected by fire.

The stories are many and varied from a child burned at a campfire and a young lady now in her 20’s who was burned at the age of two in a fire at her home to a woman who was severely burned trying to rescue her child from a fire many years ago to older adults who have devoted their entire lives to being positive role models for other burn survivors. But they share the same reason for attending – to be amongst those with similar struggles and give and or take away lessons to make them stronger. Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society, herself a burn survivor, opened the conference with the story of how she was injured in an accident 30 years ago. She recounted the journey that brought her to the Phoenix Society and how she benefited from the organizations core activities – peer support, education and advocacy.

I met Amy when NFPA began the Fire Safe Cigarette Coalitionin 2006. The Phoenix Society signed on to help bring the personal stories of the impact of fire to the debate to require cigarette manufacturers to produce and sell only cigarettes that are less likely to cause fires. In just a few years, every state passed such legislation and according to recent NFPA data, we are already seeing a significant decrease in the leading cause of home fire deaths. Those voices made a difference.


Wolrd burn
Faces of Fire advocate Princella Lee Bridges joins a fellow attendee, Jessica Platt at World Burn Congress

When NFPA launched the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a project to increase home fire sprinkler requirements, we again joined with the Phoenix Society to help tell the stories of the devastating consequences of home fires and how such tragedies can be avoided with the inclusion of home fire sprinklers in new construction. NFPA facts and figures were complimented with the Faces of Fire Campaign, which profiles individuals whose lives have been changed by fire. Some are burn survivors. Others are firefighters, building officials and builders. Many of those “faces” came to us with the assistance of the Phoenix Society. Those voices continue to make a difference.

 The World Burn Congress is a poignant reminder that fire prevention should be top of mind and top of action every day of the year. But with Fire Prevention Week just around the corner there is an opportunity to make sure we are doing everything we can to reduce the number of people who need the services of the Phoenix Society and all the other groups working so hard to help those whose lives have been altered by fire.



As a way to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871Fire Prevention Week has been observed since 1922 during the week that encompasses the date of October 9.  Although Chicago has the best-known fire on that date– the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin also started on that very same day.  It was the most devastating forest fire in American History with 16 towns destroyed; 1,152 people killed and 1.2 million acres scorched.  So at least in my mind - Fire Prevention Week is a commemoration of both an urban conflagration and a wildland fire.

FirewiseThe types of activities that occur during Fire Prevention Week have evolved over the past ninety years; and today it’s become a time when fire departments across the nation organize educational events and activities that highlight their year-round commitment to fire safety.

In the wildland fire education venue – there’s often an unspoken opinion that Fire Prevention Week doesn’t pertain to wildland fire outreach efforts and we let it pass us by.  This year, I challenge wildfire educators everywhere to embrace Fire Prevention Week and piggyback on the top-of-mind awareness prevalent during that time period.  Take full advantage of the high-level interest around fire safety topics and the corresponding messaging on both local and national levels. This year’s campaign theme is “Have 2 Ways Out” – and it focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.  It’s a theme that easily fits into “both worlds” of fire safety education.     

Since fall is the season for all things football, look at Fire Prevention Week using this analogy…neither the AFC or the NFC would train year-round and then intentionally forego the Super Bowl; so why would wildland fire educators not make a play during the longest running public health and safety observance on record?

Think of it this way - Fire Prevention Week is the Super Bowl for all fire safety education and outreach.  Get in the game and score some points in your community!

To access free Firewise materials and resources visit  Get more information from NFPA on this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign including details on how you can participate in an online registry that brings fire departments and community members together to support fire safety education programs

-Cathy Prudhomme

For our Fire Prevention Week "Cool to Do" on we like to pick an activity that is fun for all ages. I think this year we got it just right. Story dice are easy to make and fun for little and big kids. When I brought the fire safety blocks home, both my 8 year-old and 4 year-old had a blast. For the 4 year-old, we rolled the dice and verbally put together a story using the pictures. For the 8 year-old, he rolled the dice and wrote a story (you can see what he came up with on the Cool to Do page). For both it was fun and silly (being boys there was bound to be some "potty" words thrown in) but it also gave me an opportunity to remind them what a smoke alarm sounds like, why they need two ways out of every room, etc.  I love it when they have fun and they don't even know there is some education involved!

We also have some ideas on the using the story blocks for teachers, parents, firefighters, and after school programs. This would be a great activity at an open house - all you need is a few blocks on a table and a grown-up that can reinforce the education component. Let us know how your kids like the activity.

Laying TileI’m having some work done at home that includes laying tile in the foyer at the front door. The tile was done yesterday and needs to set for 24 hours – that means no walking on the tile. It made me think of my home fire escape plan with my front door as my first way out of my home and freshly laid
tile between me and a quick escape. If there was a fire, I would have ignored the 24 hour no walking on the tile rule and used the front door to leave. Fortunately, smoke alarms did not sound last night.

This Fire Prevention Week serves as a reminder that we should always have two ways out – at home, work, school and anywhere else. Always consider special circumstances such as home construction which might temporarily block a way out. I have a back door with easy access to the yard which could be used as a way out as well as windows with less than a 8 foot drop. Construction can disrupt a home in ways other than setting tile such as furniture moved – possibly blocking usable ways out or even exit stairs removed – making use of the way out impossible. The next time you are doing construction in your home, remember to always have two ways out.

Two fire departments in Tennessee are gearing up for their annual Fire Prevention Week campaigns, and are working to remind local residents about the importance of home escape planning. The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign is "Have Two Ways Out".

“Fire safety is a lesson that should be learned by everyone in the county, not just during our fire prevention week programs when we are at the schools but even the adults need to know what to do," says Jeff Milton, Chief of the Stewart County Fire & Rescue (SCFR) in an article on The Leaf Chronicle. He says the SCFR, along with the Dover city Fire Department, are telling the community about the importance of knowing two ways out of every room in their home, and that if they have a home fire, the first thing to do is get out and stay out.

“Running back in for stuff is what kills people,” said Chief Milton. “Find a safe place outside and stay there till there the fire department can arrive on the scene and make sure you have accounted for everyone that was there with you. Let us know this when we arrive, but never run back inside.”

Both the SCFR and the Dover Fire Department are encouraging their neighbors to join in support their education efforts through Sparky’s Wish List, which brings together the fire service, local businesses, and the community fund life-saving fire safety educational materials.

The Wish List website allows fire departments to create a tailored profile page, identifying the specific materials needed for local fire education programs. Residents, businesses and others can then find the pages and choose items to purchase from the list. Materials will be sent directly to the fire department. SCFR and Dover City FD are both listed on the Tennssee page of the Wish List website.

!|src=|alt=Clear Your Escape Routes Brochure|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Clear Your Escape Routes Brochure|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c31b534be970b!This is the time of year when many of us complete outdoor projects–maintenance and improvements on the outside of the house before the weather changes significantly. It is also a good time to take care of an important indoor project, making sure that all of the escape routes in your home are clear. Items that block doors and windows could keep you from escaping in the event of a fire. The “[Clear Your Escape Routes |]” brochure, available in English and Spanish, under Urban Fire Safety on the NFPA web site, outlines potential hazards to safe escape–window security bars without a quick release mechanism, furniture blocking doors, and padlocks, for example–and also provides a reminder about this year’s Fire Preventiion Week theme to &quot;Have 2 Ways Out.&quot; Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather


One of the latest in a growing number of media outlets to cover NFPA&#39;s new Sparky&#39;s Wish List project is WBOY in Clarkesburg, West Virginia. Touting the program as a way to help local fire departments, WBOY showed a few quick bits of the Wish List website and directs people to check it out.</p>

Sparky&#39;s Wish List  is an online registry that brings together fire

departments and community members to support life-saving fire safety

education programs.&#0160;

NFPA invited fire departments* to create a Wish List of fire safety
education materials for use during school visits and other community
events. And there are fire departments in every state that have
completed a Wish List. Community members and local businesses can now help support local
departments by purchasing requested materials, which NFPA will send
directly to the fire departments.

To ensure delivery in time for Fire Prevention Week, place an order on the wishlist by September 25th.

Sparky does a great job of describing this new program.


Public educationA Firefighter Nation article by Jim Crawford dives into the various strategies for obtaining fire prevention educational materials. Jim discusses some advantages and disadvantages of both developing your own and purchasing these materials. Then, he graciously devotes an entire section of his article to NFPA materials that are available. 

He mentions that NFPA’s Educational Messages Advisory Committee debates and determines the proper messages to convey. A group of subject matter experts from around the nation can consider the latest available research and identify what it is we should be saying to promote the right behaviors. That basic message can then be put through a creative process to make it appealing to intended audiences; it can then be tested for literacy levels, translations and more. Since EMAC does this - you won't have to spend the time and resources on it while trying to develop your own materials. 

Many of NFPA's materials are free - including the Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program and NFPA safety tip sheets on a variety of fire and life safety topics. Specific Fire Prevention Week products may be purchased, many at low cost - however there is also a new program this year giving fire departments a way to create a Wish List of products and then ask community members to purchase and donate these to them. 

We appreciate Jim bringing awareness to our education materials and hope you will all look into them. 

!|src=|alt=Grill photo|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Grill photo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0177446814a2970d!One of the highlights of my summer was the day I bought an outdoor grill. I had never owned one before so the purchase felt extra special. It was a portable gas grill, the kind you could easily take on camping trips. Right away my friend and I decided to pull the grill out of the box and have ourselves a cookout for two. Once we read the directions and carried the grill out the backdoor of his townhouse, I realized that we faced some fire safety challenges. He only has a small patch of grass behind his home. The branches of a maple tree in serious need of pruning hovered nearby. I thought back on our NFPA safety tip sheets , specifically the one on proper use and care for propane and charcoal barbecue grills. It took some maneuvering but we were able to place the grill a safe distance from the house, railings, and those pesky tree branches. One of us stayed with the grill while the other went indoors for more ingredients. After we finished using the grill we could relax and enjoy our meal knowing we had followed safe grilling practices.

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