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Have you seen the December issue of Safety Source? It is packed with all things holiday fire safety. Get the latest on resources for your community, activities for the kids, tip sheets and more. We are also accepting applications for Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year and the Rolf Jensen Award.

Sparky the Fire Dog® has his own website and a page for parents and educators with lots of fun activities. 

Everyone is using social media these days, including our very own Sparky the Fire Dog.  If you're a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest user, show Sparky some love and follow his pages and interact with him daily.



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Marsha Giesler, public education officer with the Downers Grove Fire Department in Illinois said she felt humbled and honored when she was chosen the 2012 NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year.
“This acknowledgment is one of the greatest validations for our public education efforts,” she said. “When a highly respected organization such as NFPA is standing behind you, it reinforces the importance and value of fire and life safety education to the fire service and local community.”
Giesler has implemented fire and life safety programs in her community using NFPA materials for more than 20 years. She was chosen for the award because of her hard work, creativity, excellence, and innovation in reaching out to her community with the Learn Not to Burn Preschool Program, Risk Watch, and Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults.
Giesler was honored during an award presentation at the NFPA Conference in Las Vegas in June 2012. “I will not forget that moment,” she said. “I was smiling ear to ear. I was honored to receive the award from Ernest Grant (NFPA Board First Vice Chair) whose work I have admired for a long time.”

The NFPA Public Education Division will be accepting applications for the next award  through February 22, 2013. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium and travel to Chicago in June 2013 for an award presentation at the general session of the NFPA Conference. The educator’s fire department will receive a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.



LNTBWe've recently updated our Learn Not to Burn (LNTB) preschool program, which teaches young children about fire safety.

Updates to LNTB feature revised teacher lesson plans and parent/caregiver home link activities. Also, the program’s songs, which were originally recorded by Jim Post, now include singer and musician, Dante Ware, who’s joined Jim in singing and performing many of the songs.

For more than 40 years, LNTB has introduced the basics of fire safety to children, with a focus on positive, empowering messages. Those core elements will remain the same.

Because children ages five and under are among those at greatest risk to fire, it’s critical to teach them how to identify risks and protect themselves. Kids are also wonderful ambassadors of information and do a great job of bringing home the fire safety messages they’ve learned, which can make a significant impact on entire households.

Primarily taught in schools, LNTB’s program lessons are most appropriate for four- and five-year-olds, but can be used for Kindergarten children, too.

Released one at a time, the updated LNTB lesson plans and songs will be free to download on NFPA’s website. For more information about LNTB and other public safety initiatives, visit

In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, here are some resources that may be helpful for you to share with firefighters, EMTs, teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, community helpers, and other who work with children.
I found that several organizations have resources that can be helpful to anyone seeking to console or provide some process to deal with shock. After 9-11, the American Red Cross developed the award-winning curriculum titled "Facing Fear: Helping Children Cope with Terrorism and Tragic Events" K-12.”  It is free on the Canadian Red Cross website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted several articles on its mental health pages , including “Coping with a Traumatic Event,” “Self Care Tips for Dealing with Stress,” and “How Families Can Help Children Cope with Fear and Anxiety.” 
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also assembled a collection of resources on their home page.
Please let us know if you have found any other helpful resources. You can leave a comment with this blog or e-mail me at .

Hiddenpix_parentMy kids love the hidden pictures found in Highlights magazine. Every month when it arrives that is the first page they turn to. One of our favorite artists of all time, and a Highlights artist, Karen Lee, has created our very own hidden picture for the holidays. Being that we are NFPA, there are of course a few safety messages mixed in and an appearance by Sparky the Fire Dog.

If you need a little help and you can print out the answer key, too. Let us know how you like it.


CPSC, the National Fire Protection Association and Maryland's Office of the State Fire Marshal recently teamed up to offer safety tips on holiday decorating. Watch video from the event and take steps to prevent your festive holidays from turning into flaming fiascos.

Read the blog post about the event.

The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to friends and loved ones to let them know we are thinking about them.  Save a stamp and send a smile to someone’s inbox with a Sparky e-card.  Sparky has many e-cards to choose from.  Wish someone a happy holiday, have some winter fun with penguins and wish someone a happy 2013!
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Sparky even has a free holiday coloring sheet that you can download and print.  Kids can wish someone "Happy Holidays" with this cute coloring sheet.



As temperatures
drop in the months ahead, the risk of home heating fires peaks. In fact, December, January and February are the leading months for
home fires, with 50% of all home heating fires occuring during this time.

In 2010, home heating equipment was
involved in an estimated 57,100 reported home structure
fires, 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct
property damage. 

When heating
your home this winter, remember that all heaters need space. Keep anything
that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the
furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. And remember to turn
off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep. 

Check out even more home heating safety tips.  

!|src=|alt=JensenAward_Francis_Balzotti_Keith|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=JensenAward_Francis_Balzotti_Keith|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c348ad2ce970b!Fire departments in the United States and Canada that are introducing or maintaining a fire and life safety program or campaign can have their efforts supported by the[ Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant |,%20awards,%20grants/For%20public%20educators/Rolf%20H.%20Jensen%20Memorial%20Public%20Education%20Grant].  Established in the name of Rolf H. Jensen, a leading authority on fire protection engineering who served on NFPA’s board of directors, the grant provides $5,000 to support a fire department’s program or campaign, a commemorative plaque, and the recipient’s name inscribed on the grant winner’s plaque displayed at NFPA headquarters. The deadline for applications is February 8, 2013. The 2012 recipient, Brockton Fire Department in Brockton, Massachusetts, implemented its “High-Rise Apartment Safety and Emergency Preparedness Program” with support from the grant.Brockton officials received the award earlier this year during a presentation at one of the city's high rise apartment buildings (above). NFPA’s Vice President of Field Operations and Education Gary Keith (pictured on the right) presented the plaque to Brockton Fire Chief Richard Francis and Mayor Linda Balzotti.

The Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults winning scholarship teams learned how to give group presentations and conduct home visits with 16 fire and fall prevention messages last week. Each of these teams of fire department personnel and personnel from older-adult home-visit agencies from 37 North American communities made commitments to conduct a minimum of five group presentations and at least 25 home visits to older adults in 2013.
Pictured below are the scholarship winners, NFPA trainers and other speakers at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel on December 4.


Christmas TreeWe are in the holiday spirit at NFPA. Our tree is decorated with colorful lights and ornaments and our stockings are hung on the file cabinet with care. The holiday music is  spreading throughout the public education division as all the pub ed elves are busy working on projects to support your fire safety efforts. Lisa Braxton is busy calculating the 2012 Remembering When program numbers. April Briggs is busy wrapping up an update letter to be sent to the public education network. Sharon Gamache is reviewing the evaluations for the 2013 Remembering When Conference and they are great. Amy LeBeau is putting the finishing touches on the December issue of Safety Source.  I’m beginning to work on our application for the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant.

Thanks for all your support and be sure to visit our NFPA and Sparky’s websites often!


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For most of us, the holiday season represents a time for family festivities and good cheer. What few of us consider is that the holiday season is a time when there is an increased risk of home fires.  Many households engage in holiday activities that serve as some of the leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking. Christmas trees, candle usage and holiday decorations also significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires. Add to that the hectic nature of the holidays, when people are trying to accomplish multiple tasks at one time, and the chance for home fires grows even further.

[NFPA's Project Holiday |] campaign is a comprehensive online toolkit that has everything from fill-in press releases, talking points for the media, tip sheets, reports and more. You can access informational videos and take our holiday quiz, too. Let us know about the holiday campaigns you do in your community. 

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%; border: 0px; padding: 0px;!Download NFPA's free safety tip sheet on winter holiday safety

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%; border: 0px; padding: 0px;!Put a freeze on winter fires!

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%; border: 0px; padding: 0px;!Video compares flammability of dry Christmas tree with one watered regularly

Lighting up the Christmas tree is a tradition in many households, but without proper fire safety, these same decorations could increase your chances of fire.  If you are planning to buy a Christmas tree this year, it is important to remember fire safety.  Download NFPA’s free Christmas tree safety tip sheet and keep you and your family safe during the holidays. ChristmasTreeFactSheet

Also, check out the videoof a demonstration showing how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. This test was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories. 


For more information on Christmas tree safety, please visit our special section of the NFPA website.

JESSICA BLACKFORDCommunication is key to a successful implementation of the Remembering When program, according to Jessica Blackford, Public Education Coordinator for the Public Education Division of the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office. Blackford, whose state conducted a pilot test for the fire and fall prevention program in 2003, told the 37 teams of fire department and home visit agency personnel this week during NFPA’s Remembering When training conference in Boston, that the relationship team members develop with each other and their communities, is critical to the program’s sustainability.
“Keep in touch. Talk on a regular basis,” Blackford said. “Have breakfast together. Talk about what’s going on.”
As part of the training, fire departments have committed to conducting group presentations with older adults and train-the trainer workshops for home visitors, who will then present the 16 key Remembering When fire and fall prevention behaviors to older adults as they conduct their home visits.
“Celebrate your accomplishments,” Blackford said. “Talk to your trustees, your mayor, your fire chief. Put it in the newspaper.”
Nearly 10 years after Remembering When was piloted in Illinois, 104 communities around the state have the program. A statewide conference is held annually and at least three new community trainings are held each year.
Blackford also suggested that the teams stay in contact with potential volunteers as coalition members in Illinois have done over the years. “You’re going to find people along the way who are really interested in helping out. Keep their numbers, collect their emails. You might want to call them later. “


Fire department representatives from 37 fire departments and 37 older adult home visit organizations are participating in the Remembering When interactive training in Boston this week. Among other things, they are learning how to give group presentations and conduct home visits using the 16 key Remembering When fire and fall prevention behaviors.

They have had a chance to work with Janelle Winston of Speech Coach to hone their presentation skills using the best physical movement, voice inflection and effective use of audio visuals.


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Participants work in groups to practice their new skills.


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Trainer Kwame Cooper shows how to use questions such as “What was your favorite food your parents or grandparents cooked for you when you were growing up?" "What kind of stove did they use?" "Did they ever burn themselves?" "How did they treat the burn?" This get older adults participating and gives a way to teach the message of treating a burn by putting it in cool water for 3-5 minutes.


- Sharon Gamache

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%; border: 0px; padding: 0px;!Remembering When conference addresses fire and fall problem among older adults

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%; border: 0px; padding: 0px;!New free NFPA fall prevention posters are available for older adults in your community

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