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I was looking for some Mother's Day projects for  when I came across this one. Yikes. I found itMy-moms-gift on Pinterest, so keep in mind that it is out of context. It is just a  picture with no explanation. I am hoping that this is geared towards  adults giving this to their mothers.  Never the less, putting a lit  candle on a rug next to curtains is not a good idea.

 The  sentiment is sweet, and the words are a wonderful message to mom, but  let's throw some fire safety into it. If you are an adult, and you are  giving this gift to your mom, remember candles are open flames and they  can easily ignite anything that can burn. Keep candles at least 12  inches away from anything that can burn. When you wrap the candle and  matches, include this tip sheet on candle safety for mom.
As a child's project, get a flameless candle (don't have children give matches) and include the samePhoto-1 great message. I bought some battery-operated flameless candles  from Target recently. They are vanilla scented and have a built-in timer  so they turn off after four hours.

This is a great alternative to the "real" candle…and much safer. Check back in a few days for some great Mother's Day ideas on

Fdic nfpa pub ed boothOver 33,000 firefighters gathered at the Fire Department Instructors Conference 2013 (FDIC) that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the NFPA Public Education division was present.  I had the opportunity to staff the exhibit this year with our Central Region Public Education Advisor, Meredith Hawes, and promote all of the wonderful and free materials the NFPA Public Education division develops.  It was such a great experience to meet people from all over the country whose passion was to teach and promote fire safety.

Visit NFPA's Safety Information section to take a look at what educational materials and resources NFPA has available.  

With the 2013 Fire Prevention Week theme announced it’s time to starting planning NFPA has created Sparky’s Wish List to help you fund materials to use in your community. It’s easy as 1,2,3! Create a wish list for your fire department, use the materials we have created to reach out to the media, local businesses and residents, and thank all your contributors. I donated to the Braintree (MA) Fire Department last year. It was nice to see the Fire Prevention Week banners I purchased displayed at each station. There are residents and businesses in your community who want to support you.

What are you waiting for? Go to Sparky’s Wish List and make sure your fire department is listed.

NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations to the Public, which was approved at the March 2013 Standards Council meeting to enter Annual 2015 (with a later closing date of September 9, 2013), is now available for electronic submission of public input (e-PI).

This is an opportunity for fire safety educators to get involved with the NFPA codes and standards process. The document information page provides everything you need to get to know NFPA 1730. You will be able to create your own account which will allow you to view the proposed document and submit comments. This is an important document because it addresses public education operations within a fire department.

Google announced recently that Google Reader is closing down. This popular RSS feed reader will be history on July 1, 2013, which means you’ve got a little more than two months to move your Google Reader subscriptions to a new RSS reader. You don't want to miss out on any of our blog posts in your RSS readers, right?

In the PC World video below, Nick Barber shows you how to migrate your Google Reader subsciptions to a new RSS reader. He uses Takeout, Google’s way of providing your information in a format you can take with you to other programs. He turns his Google Reader subscriptions into a file that can then be used with different RSS readers. 



Looking for more information about Google Reader’s impending shutdown? You can read about three alternatives to Google Reader here. 

If all of this sounds too complicated but you still don't want to miss out, you can always subscribe to our blog's RSS feeds again, adding them to another RSS feeder directly from our blog. 

Oven offI got a frantic phone call from my fiancé early one recent Sunday morning. He was at the airport about to board a plane for a five-day business trip to another part of the country, and he couldn’t remember if he’d turned his oven off. I knew what was coming next, so I braced myself. He wondered if I would drive to his home and check the oven for him. He and I are a good 40 minutes apart door-to-door on a good day when there’s no traffic. I estimated that I would lose a large chunk of a day that I’d already jam packed with errands and appointments. During the silence on my end of the line he added, “It would really mean a lot to me if you would do this.”

Once I exhaled, I gave him a cheery, “Yes, dear,” and hopped into my car. When I got to his home, all was well. The oven was off. But the incident made me think that it would be a good idea to review with him NFPA’s safety tips, in particular our cooking safety information.

I didn’t hit traffic on the way back home and was able to complete most of the tasks on my to-do list that day. I’m going to hope that in the future when my fiancé leaves the house, he’ll already know the oven is off because he’ll be following our safety tips while he’s cooking.

WebLast week I had the opportunity to spend two days in Cambridge, MA, at the MIT Sandbox Summit.  The  theme of the conference was “Pixel the Possibilities, Nurturing kids  imaginations in the digital age.”

I was inspired by the talent and expertise of not only the speakers at the conference, but also the attendees. I was also reminded about the responsibility we have as educators in this digital age.

NFPA takes great care in making sure that our children's web site,, is a safe, age-appropriate and ad-free site. Parents can feel comfortable letting kids explore and learn about fire safety in a safe environment. We also know, that in this ever-growing age of digital learning, teachers are utilizing the Sparky site more and more. Teachers often use the site to enhance lessons taught from our Learn Not to Burn curriculum. We want them to feel confident when they send a letter home to parent's encouraging them to go to to learn more about fire safety, play a game, or create a home fire escape plan, that they are sending them to a safe site.

We would love to hear from teachers about how they use the Sparky site in their classrooms. And also from parents about using the site at home.

NFPA has announced its theme for 2013 Fire Prevention Week: Prevent Kitchen Fires. Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, and a significant contributor to home fires deaths. From October 6-12, we’ll be highlighting the dangers of unattended cooking and risky kitchen habits.

This theme announcement coincides with the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis, which is attended by thousands of firefighters from around the world. NFPA has a booth at FDIC, and conference attendees are welcome to view new campaign materials.

Sparky is always a prominent FPW fixture, and he’ll be promoting Sparky’s Wish List again this year. He’s joined by NFPA’s Ken Willette in the video below to talk about this year’s FPW theme.


Visit for more information and safety tips.

LibraryMany fire departments have created their own fire safety education materials and programs. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) offers an on-line collection of materials created by fire departments throughout the United States to help fire safety educators access materials. An item listed in the collection might inspire a fire department to adapt materials to meet specific needs and, best of all, educators have access to proven, effective tools that can be put to use in their community right away.

The Prevention and Public Education Exchange categorizes the materials by topic from autism to winter safety. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is working with USFA in gathering materials to include in the Prevention and Public Education Exchange. NVFC is particularly interested in collecting successful prevention and life safety materials from volunteer departments. While NVFC is interested in materials from volunteer fire departments, USFA is collecting materials from all fire departments. If you have programs or materials you would like to list in the exchange, guidelines are available to help you as well as a submission form. You can find more information on the project on the Prevention and Public Education Exchange or NVFC.

GRbanner426(1)Monday was a very sad day for the United States as we experienced an attack on the world’s oldest annual marathon. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year as they cheer for the runners along the entire 26.2 miles. The 117th  running of the Boston Marathon will be remembered.

The disaster on Monday made me think of the importance of emergency planning. Disasters can be natural or the result of human actions – intentional or unintentional. Communication is important. Family members and friends can become separated during an emergency. Always have a plan how to reach each other. Remember, cell phones may not work in a disaster as was experienced on Monday. Have an out-of-area contact (relative or friend) who can help coordinate locations and information. Be sure to include children in the plan and make sure they know the phone number of the out-of-area contact. NFPA has ready-to-use emergency plan cards families can complete and carry with important contact information. We also offer general preparedness tips for consumers and a “Get Ready” kit for fire departments to use to teach residents about disaster preparation.

Let’s be strong and always be prepared.

!|src=|alt=Autism NOW 2 logo|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Autism NOW 2 logo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017ee9f4f4e3970d!April is Autism Awareness Month. In observance, the Autism NOW Center (The National Autism Resource and Information Center) hosted a webinar recently on the topic, “Preparing for Fires and Other Emergencies.” I was a co-presenter, along with Chris Lacy of Autism Alert, which provides autism awareness training for first responders. I covered the topic of fire safety during my presentation, focusing on the Public Education Division’s fire safety social story for children who have autism, “[I Know My Fire Safety Plan |].” During the webinar, people who have autism, their families, and caregivers learned how the social story can be used to prepare a high-functioning child with autism or a person with other developmental disabilities before a fire occurs. I also shared information about other educational materials available for people with disabilities, and our safety tips sheets for people with disabilities.

Young FiresettersThere’s a brand new safety tip sheet now available on young firesetters. Children are naturally curious about the world, and fire is no exception. As kindergarteners and preschoolers are most likely to start these fires, probably by playing with matches or lighters, it’s important to talk to children about the dangers of fire.

Some of the tips included are:

  • Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and      sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or container.
  • Never leave matches or lighters in a bedroom or any      place where children may go without supervision.
  • Teach young children and school-age children to tell a      grown-up if they see matches or lighters. Children need to understand that      fire is difficult to control, it is fast and can hurt as soon as it      touches you

For the rest of the safety tips, visit NFPA’s children playing with fire page.

The April 2013 issue of NFPA's public education newsletter, Safety Source, is now available. This issue  features our new parent tip sheet for children playing with fire, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm urges others to learn from her grilling accident, a free printable: 10 Ways to have fun this Spring (which includes some great fire-safety ideas to get kids involved), and an overview on NFPA's review on fire safety Aprilssmessaging for preschool-age children.

You'll also find the latest estimates on major fire cause, the Educator of the Year winner and information on applying inclusive emergency preparedness to wildfire mitigation planning.

If you aren't signed up already, today is the day! Get the latest public education news for your family, business, community and classroom delivered right to your in-box.

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!|src=|alt=Preschool messaging|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Preschool messaging|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c3889046f970b!NFPA hosted a roundtable of experts to evaluate what new research must be done to ensure that we are teaching the correct fire safety behaviors using developmentally appropriate practices for children age three to five. The group determined that “cool a burn,” although critically important, is not an appropriate behavior to teach preschool children.&#0160;[Read more |]



Braxton Photo 2

I was reminded of my previous career in television news recently when I was asked to go on camera to record NFPA safety information videos. Back when I was a reporter at the CBS station in Champaign, Illinois, I appeared on camera trudging through dry corn fields in 90 degree weather as I talked about the latest drought, or you’d find me sticking a ruler in the snow to tell viewers how significant the snowfall was, or I’d report live in front of the wreckage of a home that was flattened by a tornado that cut a swath through the neighborhood.

Needless to say, going on camera in the NFPA studio was a far different assignment from the breaking news stories that I used to cover. However, the objective is the same: to provide the public with information to help them be safe.

So far, I’ve recorded videos on cooking safety, home heating safety, outdoor electrical safety, and portable fireplaces. The videos are quick, to the point, and packed with safety tips. Plans are underway for me to record additional videos, so stay tuned!

KFDThe Kingsport Fire Department and the City of Kingsport reached a significant milestone on April 3, 2013 - marking six years without a fire death in the city.   

“We have continued to increase the level of safety throughout the City of Kingsport through the combined efforts of quick responding highly trained firefighters, regular fire inspections and aggressive fire and life safety education programs.”  Public Education Officer Barry Brickey stated.  “Adding new fire stations, engines and personnel have also decreased our response times.”

The KFD will work with a local Boy Scouts group to begin canvassing high fire risk neighborhoods that are part of the recent Smoke Alarm Grant. Many of the residents in these neighborhoods will be receiving Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms and/or Batteries for their homes to help with their fire protection. 

The Kingsport Fire Department serves a population of over 50,000 and responded to 8,038 incidents in 2012 setting a record for call volume.

The Fire Marshal’s office recorded 3,845 inspections in 2012. There were 48,598 adults and children participated in Kingsport Fire Department’s Fire Prevention presentations and activities last year.  The Kingsport Fire Department presents theNFPA’s Learn Not To Burn program in each of the City’s Elementary Schools.  In 2011 KFD began the NFPA’s Remembering When Program with the Kingsport Senior Center teaching fall and fire safety. 

You'll also all remember Barry Brickey's name as he was NFPA's 2011 Voice of Sparky contest winner!

Congratulations to Kingsport for reaching this milestone as well as for all of their efforts in fire safety education. Here's to many more safe years ahead!

For complete statistics on unintentional fire death rates by state, view our interactive map and research report

CampusSafetyStudents in a dorm at Framingham State University (MA) were forced out of their rooms on Friday because of a fire. A single sprinkler kept the fire under control. All students in the dorm were safely evacuated. The fire started when a laptop left on a bed overheated, igniting the bedding.

Let’s remind all our college students to use extra caution with heat producing items in their rooms. NFPA offers a safety tips sheet on college campus fire safety. The safety tips are appropriate for students living on- and off-campus. It’s also important to remember that a laptop produces heat and should be kept well away from anything that can burn.

!|src=|alt=Sparky and Toronto Blue Jays|style=width: 450px;|title=Sparky and Toronto Blue Jays|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef017eea02d50c970d!
[Sparky the Fire Dog |]® was on hand for a recent photo shoot with the Toronto Blue Jays. Sparky and Blue Jays catcher, J.P. Arencibia, will be spreading fire safety messages throughout the 2013 season. The campaign will be launched on May 28 when the Blue Jays take on the Atlanta Braves in Toronto. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting campaign. Sparky is pictured with J.P. and NFPA public education advisor, Art Pullan, who is organizing this campaign.

A_PinwheelOne of Sparky’s “10 ways to have fun this spring” is to make a Sparky pinwheel.  A paper pinwheel amazes young children in how you can take very simple items and turn them into something entirely different. It has been so windy in New England the last few days and it reminded me of the days that are perfect for pinwheels. You can use this craft to educate them on wind, movement and cause and effect actions. They'll enjoy these colorful personalized wind toys. 

For more fun spring activities visit and let us know which ones are your favorite and how much you enjoy them. 

It doesn't feel like Spring in New England. In fact, it was 32 degrees this morning. That being said, I amFun thinking positive that the weather will start to get warmer. This month, is all about getting outside and celebrating Spring. I am always looking for fun activities to do with my kids. This month's free printable gives you 10  Ways to Have Fun this Spring as a family. Of course, a few of the ideas include fire safety. We are NFPA after all. 

As my children get older, activities like this mean even more to me, and them. This piece is not only a great family project but can also be used for after school programs, classrooms, Scout troops and as handouts from the fire department. Let me know if you use it, and how the kids like it.

Award Ceremony Photo

The Springfield Fire Department, Springfield, Massachusetts, held a news conference at its headquarters recently to announce that the department had been awarded the Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant. With the commemorative plaque from NFPA on display at the podium, Fire Marshal David Rivera told reporters from the local television stations and newspaper how the department would use the $5,000 grant to support the department’s Multi-Language Public Education Fire Safety Initiative. Firefighter Christian Lewis (left) and Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant (right) joined Rivera as he made the announcement.

Springfield’s industry, jobs, and population have declined sharply in recent years, while the immigrant population, which generates a large number of fire calls, has mushroomed.  The grant will support the department’s fire safety presentations, which will be conducted primarily at cultural and community centers. A key component of the initiative is providing public education to immigrants in their native languages. Certified interpreters have been secured to translate Stop, Drop, and Roll; planning and practicing your escape from fire; cooking safety; and other messages. Fire officials hope to see a drop in dangerous fire behavior and calls to the fire department.

“We have found in some fire and emergency responses that recent immigrants were using charcoal and other types of fuels in their residences in order to cook meals,” said Rivera during a separate interview. “It is this type of behavior that we plan to address.”

(Photo courtesy of Springfield Fire Department)

Autism Now
In celebration of Autism Awareness month, the Autism NOW Center will be offering a webinars on April 2nd. The National Autism Resource & Information Center works year round to promote awareness and educate the public about key issues that affect individuals with autism and their families. 

"Preparing for Fires and Other Emergencies" will be taking place on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST.

This webinar will bring together experts from organizations that focus on emergency preparedness and safety planning for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Speakers from the National Fire Protection Association and Autism ALERT will provide an overview of their work and share useful information, tools and resources for individuals and families. Topics covered will include fire safety, trainings for first responders and caregivers, search and rescue protocols, safety plans and more! NFPA's own Lisa Braxton will join Chris Lacy from Autism ALERT, Inc. as speakers. 

Reserve your seat now at:

Take a look at some of NFPA's other resources and educational materials for working with those with Autism.  

Cooking 2Stay in the kitchen when you fry! A lesson I need to teach my husband, Gary. Gary is fortunate to be able to occasionally work from home. I am even more fortunate because on those days dinner is ready when I arrive home from work. He had one of those “work at home” days last week. Dinner was Italian sausages with peppers and onions. I arrived home and dinner was ready. As we began to eat he told me that there was an issue while he was frying the sausages. Of course I wanted to know more. Gary proceeded to tell me that he put the sausages in a frying pan to begin browning them on the stovetop. He then went back to his office to continue working. He continued working until all the smoke alarms sounded and announced “fire, fire”. Gary immediately went to the kitchen where he found lots of smoke. He turned off the stovetop burner, opened a window and turned on the ceiling fan. Fortunately, this was just a smoke issue, but it could have been much worse.

This is a lesson for everyone – especially Gary. Stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop! I need your help in spreading this very important safety message. NFPA has a cooking community kit and safety tips sheet on this leading cause of fires in the home – unattended cooking. All the information you need is ready for you to use.

Dinner was great and Gary washed the frying pan!

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