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Image of bridal checklistEvery bride wants her wedding day to be memorable; for me, that means hosting my big day at a beautiful Victorian estate. I toured several mansions in Massachusetts before choosing the venue for my upcoming wedding, a national historic landmark designed in 1793 that features expansive lawns, lush gardens, gazebos, and greenhouses.

On my first visit there, as I floated down the grand staircase, imagining myself gracefully navigating those same stairs in high heels and a full-length dress on my wedding day, the mansion’s caretaker shared some important details with me. She didn’t focus on the ballroom’s Federal Period architecture, the antique-filled parlors, or the pine paneling in the library and music room but on how the building could be enjoyed while the safety of the guests is maintained.

We talked about candles. She told me that I would have to comply with fire safety regulations. I wouldn’t be permitted to use traditional candles inside the building, on the veranda, or on the grounds, but I would be allowed to use battery-operated candles. My guest list includes several people with disabilities. I was relieved to hear that the building is accessible and has an accessible restroom. The caretaker touched on escape planning too. Only 65 people would be permitted in the ballroom for the reception’s sit-down meal because of life safety codes.

When I went home that day, I pulled out my bridal checklist that helps me remember to take care of important tasks. I was pleased to add “fire and life safety considerations” to the top of the list and give it a great big checkmark.

Smoke alarmsHere's an NFPA history lesson: the requirement for smoke alarms in one- and two-family dwellings made its debut in the 1976 edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®. Only one smoke "detector" (as they were referred to in this edition of the code) was required, and its location wasn't specified in the code.

In the latest issue of NFPA Journal, columnist Chip Carson discusses how the Life Safety Code has continually expanded the number of smoke alarms required in homes, which has contributed to a decline in civilian fire deaths since 1976. 

"Even so, there is more work to do," says Carson. "NFPA data indicates that more than four million households in the U.S. remain unprotected. Other studies have found that in some high-risk neighborhoods more than 75 percent of homes do not have working smoke alarms."

Read Carson's suggested solutions to this problem in the latest edition of Journal.
Marietta House Fire
We sure have a lot of work to do change the behavior of people cooking on the stove top. A kitchen was destroyed in Marietta, PA from a fire that a bystander at the scene said stared on the stovetop. Fire Prevention Week is getting closer. It’s time to begin planning how you will reach to your residents with important kitchen safety messages.


  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Be alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • If you have a cooking fire, just get outside and call 9-1-1.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby by when you’re cooking to smother a small grease fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

NFPA provides everything you need for a great Fire Prevention Week. Our FPW website is designed to give you all the tools to implement a cooking safety campaign. You can also use materials from our “Keeping Your Community Cooking Safely” tool kit! You don’t’ have to wait for Fire Prevention Week to begin a kitchen fire safety campaign. NFPA has everything ready for you to use including safety tips sheets, products, statistics and learning activities for kids and families.

Let me know your plans for Fire Prevention Week. Share your best ideas!

Stop, Drop, and Roll is so recognizable to the public, Bonefish Grill recently used it in the subject line of a recent e-mail promotion. Thanks to Dick Gann, Montgomery Village, MD for sharing this with us.

Bonefish Grill

SmokealarmsafetytipsOne of my friends just bought a townhouse and I couldn’t wait to go over and get the grand tour.  As she was walking me through her new place I kept pointing out and commenting on all of the fire safety equipment.  Of course I got some funny looks but she is well aware of my career and passion for fire safety.  As I was climbing up into the attic, she said, “It’s even hassprinklers up there, April.  Isn’t that awesome?”.

I gave my speech about making sure she tests all of her smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly.  Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. 

Make sure your loved ones are safe in their homes by reminding them to install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure that there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area. New homes are required to have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and all smoke alarms must be interconnected.

Check out NFPA’s smoke alarm section to find information on basic smoke alarm safety tips and much more.  Call your loved ones today and get them to test their smoke alarms.  It could save a life.  

FPW13200x200Each year NFPA challenges our blog readers to join the conversation and add to our list of “songs that include the words fire or burn.” The challenge is on. I’ve made my own list of 10 songs and invite you to add to the list. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is Prevent Kitchen Fires. Can you think of any songs about the kitchen or cooking? I’ve included links for all my songs so you can enjoy the music and get your creativity going. Let’s see how many songs you can add to my list!


Light My Fire (The Doors)

We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel)

Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)

Fire and Rain (James Taylor)

Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)

Something’s Burning (Kenny Rogers) 

Streets of Fire (Bruce Springsteen 

I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire (The Inks)

Burn Baby Burn (The Trammps)

Burning Love (Elvis Presley)

You can make this a Fire Prevention Week activity in your community. During your Open House, invite attendees to add to your list of songs. Make it more challenging – the person adding the song must sing a few lines. Have a raffle with the names of everyone who added to the list. Contact a local restaurant or retail store for gift certificates for your raffle. Of course, Fire Prevention Week in a Box should be part of your event. Order today so you have your materials in time for Fire Prevention Week.

Now, don’t forget my challenge! How many songs can you add to my list?

Spray sunscreensThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public of recent burn incidents associated with spray sunscreens. There have already been five separate incidents in which people who had applied this product and were near an open flame--cigarette, grill, citronella candle, for example--suffered significant burns requiring medical attention. In each case, the burns occurred after the sunscreen had been applied.

While the products leading to burns have been voluntarily recalled, many other sunscreen products contain flammable ingredients, prompting the FDA to issue new safety precautions on these products. For instance, if you're anywhere near a flame source, avoid any product with a flammability warning and choose a nonflammable alternative.

Get more specifics from the FDA's website, and check out NFPA's safety tips if heading outdoors this summer.


!|src=|alt=Safety Source|style=width: 225px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Safety Source|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01910459e72f970c!Safety Source is NFPA's monthly public education newsletter. The July issue has recently been published. Just a few of the features you'll find in the July
issue of Safety Source

    • Tips on mastering the 10-minute mini-lesson

New "Thank you" eCard on

    1. Getting the most out of your Sparky's Wish List

    2. Sign up for Fire by the Numbers

    3. Free worksheets for FPW

    4. Massachusetts community reaches out to high-risk

Don't miss an issue! [Sign up now |] and be the first to get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, Sparky the Fire Dog® and more. PLUS, you can help us reach 100,000 subscribers! 


NFPA is soliciting session proposals for the 2014 NFPA Conference & Expo, to be held June 9-12, in Las Vegas. The NFPA Conference & Expo is widely regarded as the most comprehensive event in the industry. With approximately 5,000 attendees, it is the year's largest and most important event for the fire protection, life safety, and electrical industries.

EdsessionIf you'd like to share your knowledge and best practices, we invite you to send us your session proposals in any of the following topic areas:

  • Electrical
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Fire and Emergency Services
  • Emergency Preparedness/Business Continuity
  • Building and Life Safety
  • Loss Control/Prevention
  • Detection and Notification
  • Fire Suppression
  • Green Initiatives
  • Public Education
  • Research

Deadline: Monday, September 16
All proposals must be submitted online.

This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise, increase your exposure and visibility in your industry, add to your resume and your list of achievements, and meet valuable contacts and resources for your professional network. In addition, all speakers will receive a complimentary registration to the NFPA Conference & Expo.

Fire truck arcadeWe are experiencing a heat wave here in New England.  Being from the south, I am accustomed to the hot and humid summer days, however, I still am not a big fan of them.  I remember when I was a kid, if we weren’t in a pool somewhere or boogie boarding the waves at the beach, you might have found us inside during the hottest hours of the day.

When it is 100 degrees outside it can be tough to think of activities to keep kids busy while they are inside. has several fun activities and games.  One of my favorites is “Put Out the Fire” arcade game.  This game is sure to keep them busy for awhile. 

Check out all of the fun activities and games on and let us know which one is your favorite.  

Last week my husband took the boys to swim class. Part of

every swim class is a safety tip

!|src=|alt=Blog_getout|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Blog_getout|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0191044d5d35970c!given by the swim teacher. Usually the safety

tips are about swimming, what to do if you are in the pool and you see

lightning, etc. Much to my surprise the tip last week was about fire safety. My

husband reported that the young man asked the kids what they do if there is a fire

in their house. The answer he gave: go get a fire extinguisher and put out the

fire and then go get a grown-up. Wow.  


 My son looked back at my husband with eyes wide as saucers.

He knew that answer was wrong. Now my quandary was how to handle this situation.

I printed out our escape planning and smoke alarm tip sheetsand brought it to

the head lifeguard. I thanked her for teaching the kids fire safety and gently

suggested/asked if the swim teachers could read the sheets before they gave

tips to the kids. I also strongly suggested that they clarify with the kids

that when there is a fire, the correct response is to get outside and stay

outside. I hope the message was delivered. Just in case, I might just leave

some fire safety activities on the bulletin board!





Five years ago Safety Source, NFPA’s public education e-newsletter was launched. Safety Source reaches fire departments, health organizations, parents, teachers, businesses, and many others. In recognition of the newsletter's milestone Sparky the Fire Dog® and I are asking you to help us reach 100,000 subscribers. So sign up. It’s free. Spread the word.

A_BubblesMaking bubbles is one of the more simple and fun ways to spend a warm sunny afternoon. They work well on a grassy lawn, outside on the steps, under the shade of a tree, and even in the kitchen.

When it comes to kids, bubbles have everything going for them; they fascinate, they float, have rainbow colors, and require some skill to blow a good bubble. They can be treated as a scientific experiment or as a past time. Best of all, they are inexpensive to make.  Bubbles are, indeed, the perfect boredom buster for a summer day. 

Alone or with a group of friends, they are sure to entertain. Don’t underestimate the power of a little liquid soap to occupy your kids. Even dogs, like Sparky, like to chase after the bubbles: tremendous fun for everyone! Alarm ImageParticipants of the NFPA Conference & Expo last month learned how quickly modern furniture can burn during the education session “Smoke Alarm Codes, Standards, and Listings: An Update from UL.” The session was sponsored by NFPA’s Building Fire Safety Systems Section and the Education Section. During the presentation, which also covered the topics of smoke alarm placement and types of alarms, Ronald Farr, lead regulatory engineer for Underwriters Laboratories, showed video of a UL experiment involving two side-by-side living room fires: one living room had modern furniture, the other, legacy furniture. The modern room transitioned to flashover in 3 minutes and 30 seconds, but the legacy room didn’t transition until 29 minutes and 30 seconds.

A growing number of people prefer modern home furnishings made from synthetic materials to those made from natural fibers. Synthetic materials tend to cost less and can be easier to clean and maintain. However, studies by UL have found that these materials typically ignite faster, burn more intensely, release their fire-enabling energy faster, and create greater amounts of smoke than natural fibers.

Another important point made during the session was the affect of home design on fire behavior. Open floor plans allow fire to spread more rapidly. The session’s dramatic video and research findings highlighted the importance of having a home escape plan and properly working smoke alarms.

Having boys I should have been prepared for at least one of them loving fire trucks. My oldest two could care less, they are so unimpressed with fire trucks. Although they do love Sparky the Fire Dog. My three-year old eats, breathes and sleeps fire trucks. Every thing he talks about, plays with and watches on TV involves flashing sirens and firefighters (should I be worried?). I don't think he is alone in his love of fire trucks. Our Fire Truck section on is by far the most popular every month. If you haven't had a chance to see it, take a few minutes and play some of the games, explore different kinds of trucks and color Sparky in a fire station. This great interactive section is perfect for your Fire Prevention Week open houses.

It’s time to focus on your Sparky’s Wish List! Sparky’s Wish List is a tool you can use to support your fire safety outreach efforts. It’s easy to use and you will be surprised how easy it is to get businesses and residents involved.

  1. If you have a Wish List, update it with the materials you want for your 2013 Fire Prevention Week Campaign.
  2. If you don’t have a Sparky Wish List, create one today.
  3. Use our Promoting your Sparky Wish List Guide. This guide provides you with the steps to take to reach out to the media, local businesses and general public. You’ll find a ready-use PowerPoint presentation, newsletter information and social media posts to help you. Everything is done for you – just waiting for you to access the information.
  4. Advertise your Wish List using the banner ads on your website.

If you have any questions, Sadie Ide is waiting to hear from you. Of course, you can also contact me and I will be happy to help you select your materials, answer questions and guide you through the process.

Let me know how you are using the Wish List and I would love to hear your success stories! Your success story could be a great blog that inspires another community.

Photo by Salvatore Vuono

Before you casually toss your next load of laundry into the dryer, consider this story.

A maintenance worker at a San Angelo, Texas, motel this week discovered smoke inside the facility's laundry room. According to the San Angelo Standard-Times, the machine overheated, causing the sheets inside to catch fire. The worker attempted to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher and then called the fire department after smoke continued to emit from the machine. Firefighters extinguished the fire, which was contained to the laundry room. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation.

The department's captain told the Standard-Times that the incident was the second dryer fire his crew responded to in a week; the other fire involved built-up dryer lint.

"Always check your dryer vents," the captain told the newspaper. "People don't think about cleaning the lint, and that is a danger."

NFPA statistics highlight this danger: in 2010, an estimated 16,800 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property damage. The leading cause of fire in these incidents was failure to clean. 

Download NFPA's dryer safety tip sheet, which includes information on maintaining these machines.

EMAC Photo

The Educational Messages Advisory Committee met recently at NFPA headquarters to review NFPA’s fire safety education messages and provide recommendations to NFPA’s public education staff for updating and revising the messages. The committee’s goal is to produce NFPA’s Education Messages Document (EMD), which contains messages used throughout NFPA’s educational programs, curricula, and handouts. The EMD provides public educators with accurate and consistent language for use when presenting fire and life safety information to the public. The latest edition of the EMD is in production.

Holbrook Sparky
The annual Braintree (MA) 4th of July events are always held the weekend before the holiday. I enjoy going to the parade to watch the bands, locals and emergency vehicles pass by. The parade was held last Saturday, a warm, humid day in Braintree. The streets were lined with lots of people this year from the very young to the very old. My most favorite part of the parade was when the Holbrook (MA) fire engine approached, sounding its horn with Sparky the Fire Dog® waving to everyone.

The fun didn’t stop with the parade. A field day at the high school with rides, games and music provided fun for everyone. The day ended with spectacular fireworks.

NFPA offers lots of information on fireworks including a safety tips sheet. Check out Sparky’s website for a great cool to do activity for kids – patriotic pom poms instead of sparklers which can burn at 1,200° F or higher.

Have a wonderful 4th of July and stay safe – leave fireworks to the professionals. Sit back and enjoy a public display conducted by trained professionals.

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