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Hanukkah begins today at sundown. Family and friends gather to light a candle of the menorah each night of the eight-day observance to remember the Jewish people's struggle for religious freedom. Hanukkah, also known as the "Festival of Lights," is one of many commemorations in which candles play a key role.

Menorah photoAs part of the “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign, NFPA and the United States Fire Administration want to make sure that everyone using candles takes the time to learn about safety.

NFPA’s Candle Fires Report tells us that, on average, 32 home candle fires were reported to fire departments per day from 2006 to 2010, and more than half of all home candle fires start when something that can burn is left or comes too close to a candle.

NFPA’s religious candle safety tips and general candle safety tips provide important information to help us keep commemorations, celebrations, and recreational activities involving candles safe, meaningful, and enjoyable.

This new infographic, developed by NFPA and USFA, details many important safety tips related to winter holiday safety, as part of the joint Put a Freeze on Winter Fires initiative. Take a look and share with your friends and family to keep this holiday season safe. 

Winter Holiday fires infographic

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 Many of us will spend extra time in the kitchen next week preparing the Thanksgiving meal. As part of the “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign, NFPA and the United States Fire Administration want to underscore the importance of cooking safety.

Cooking is, and has long been, the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, according to NFPA's most recent Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment report released today. November usually signals a time of increased cooking fires, as roughly three times the average number of cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving. November also marks the beginning of the holiday season when there tends to be a lot of cooking.

NFPA’s cooking safety information and safety tips, Thanksgiving safety tips, and Thanksgiving fire safety tips video and other materials provide us with the tools for safety in the kitchen.

Twitter_logo_blueOn December 11th at 2:00pm ET, NFPA and United States Fire Administration (USFA) will be holding a live Twitter Q&A all about holiday fire safety. 

NFPA and USFA are working together to remind everyone this year that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season, due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. During the Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign, safety information on cooking, heating, holiday decorations, candles, Christmas trees, and electrical issues will be emphasized so that you can stay safe all season. 

To participate in this Twitter Q&A, please follow along with both @NFPA and @USFire on Twitter, and use the chat's hashtag - #HolidaySafety to submit questions that you would like answered by experts from both organizations related to holiday fire safety. Questions may be submitted in advance, but be sure to tune in on December 11th at 2:00pm ET for the answers. 

Winter fires 2013-14_600x90 banner

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries and Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. With that in mind, NFPA's Flat Sparky and FEMA's Flat Stanley and Flat Stella took some time to review their cooking safety tips before the holiday next week. Take a look at their photos from the adventure:

Stay 3 feet away
Make sure children stay at least 3 feet away from the stove
Let children help to cook in the kitchen safely. The flat characters are making chocolate chip cookies!
Stay away from hot things
Stay away from things that can get hot, like this cup of tea.
Let food cool
Let food heated in the microwave cool for a few minutes before eating so you don't burn yourself!
Cool a Burn
Cool a burn in cool water for 3-5 minutes.
Stay In Kitchen
It is very important to stay in the kitchen while cooking.

Take a look at all of our winter and holiday safety tips by visiting

Make your own Flat Sparky and Flat Stanley/Flat Stella and take them on an adventure! Be sure to share your photos with us! 

Scott NotaryScott Notary was nearing the end of collegiate life. A Building and Construction Management major at Purdue University, the senior was just weeks away from receiving his diploma and relocating to Tennessee--most likely with his dog, Griffin, in tow--to start his career.

His dream was cut short on November 16, when Notary, 23, and his dog died in a house fire, according to a story in The Exponent. Two others were injured in the fire. The cause hasn't been confirmed.

Notary spent the evening with his friends and girlfriend before the couple retired for the evening at Notary's home in West Lafayette, Indiana, that he shared with others. His dog was locked in a crate at the foot of Notary's bed.

"The next thing I knew, I was standing outside," Notary's girlfriend told The Exponent. "I tried to wake up [Scott] but he wouldn't wake up. I had stopped breathing from the smoke." She was treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries. One of Notary's housemates escaped the fire by jumping from a window, according to the story.

Notary loved the outdoors in all its forms--fishing and hunting were some of his favorite activities, per his obituary. He was president of Purdue's student chapter of the Restoration Industry Association and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. "His good nature won him many friends and endeared him to all who knew him," states the obituary.

This incident serves as an unfortunate reminder that tragedies in residential settings can happen at anytime. Please make sure you have an escape plan in place and that it's practiced regularly. Review NFPA's Fire Safety Checklist for more information.


Home fires are more prevalent in the winter months due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. Winter storms can interrupt electrical service, causing people to turn to alternative sources for power, also contributing to an increased risk of fire. With these and other concerns in mind NFPA and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) have launched a campaign, Put a Freeze on Winter Fires, to promote fire safety during the winter months.

The campaign begins with a focus on cooking and heating safety. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and heating is the second leading cause of home fire deaths behind smoking and the second leading cause of home fire injuries.

A press release provides an outline of the campaign. Put a Freeze on Winter Fires provides tip sheets, a safety quiz, videos, and other resources on how to prevent cooking, heating, and other types of fires.

Follow NFPA and USFA on social media for updates on new materials and interactive ways to be fire safe.

Open Notebook 1  With the holidays approaching, Lt. Larry Gray of the Cleveland Fire Department is growing increasingly concerned about the safety of the city’s children. Gray, who is also an NFPA Education Section director, said during a recent board meeting that Cleveland has a high number of children who leave for school and come home while their parents are at work.

Some of these children cook meals and take care of younger siblings without adult supervision, increasing the potential for fire. In addition, many of the parents of these latchkey children don’t have time off during the holidays, which means children are left unsupervised for long stretches of time.

Gray, pictured here with Education Section Board Secretary Monica Colby, is addressing his concerns by making fire and life safety presentations during after-school programs. Larry Photo“An after-school setting offers a great opportunity to provide safety information to children,” he said. “They’re receptive because they’ve been in school all day. The atmosphere is a little more relaxed, and the children are focused.”

So far this year, Gray has made presentations at four schools. He hopes to get members of the department involved to build a team of presenters. His goal is to reach all of the city’s public schools.

“I encourage other fire departments to look into this because this problem is all over, and after-school programs are a great way to reach these children without interfering with their school day,” he said.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. In addition, kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot activity and people at home. Take a look at our Thanksgiving safety tips sheet for a good reminder about how you can stay safe this holiday. 

Thanksgiving safety tips

Many Thanksgiving dinners are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends catching up, sharing memories and enjoying a nice meal, others can be obligatory and awkward reunions. Either way, Sparky the Fire Dog's Thanksgiving conversation starters acitivty can be used to make your holiday even more fun! Check it out below and download your own copy from Sparky's website

Convo starters



Like many people, when I think of Thanksgiving Day what comes to mind are a stuffed turkey with all the trimmings, football games on the big screen television, kids playing throughout the house, and adults hunched over a jigsaw puzzle or board game. But how many of us think about fire safety precautions that need to be taken to keep the holiday safe? Watch my new video on Thanksgiving safety and see all of our safety tips sheets.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Make your own Sparky the Fire Dog on Thanksgiving story with this Mad Libs

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Unattended cooking fire reminds us about FPW and kitchen fire safety

Will the marshmallows make it to Thanksgiving dinner? Pick one, or multiple, family members and friends and send an Ecard to find out!


Who doesn't love a good Mad Lib? Kids will love to fill-in details about Sparky the Fire Dog's Thanksgiving while at the same time learn important safty messages. This great print out is perfect for the classroom, a take home assignment, or even as a fun activity for parents and kids to do together at home.

Mad Libs

Thankful tree
This is a perfect time of year to think about all the great things in our lives. One of the new activities on Sparky's website, The Thankful Tree activity can be done at home, or school. Have kids collect branches, pinecones, and acorns, from outside. Put pinecones, and other pieces you collected, in a vase to help keep your branches in place. Use a hole punch, or cut out leaves, to have kids write thankful notes. Then hang them on your tree for all to see.

Of course, we are thankful for smoke alarms. What are you thankful for?

Middletown, CT
I was in Middletown, CT just before Halloween. Businesses on Main St. opened their doors to trick-or-treaters with hundreds of families participating. The Middletown Fire Department was handing out candy and fire safety information. I just had to take a photo of Sparky the Fire Dog and the 2013 Fire Prevention Week banner. Thanks to the Middletown Fire Department for their warm hospitality!



Earlier this year Sparky the Fire Dog and I encouraged you to spread the word about Safety Source, our public education division newsletter. We hoped to reach our goal of 100,000 subscribers. We are happy to report that with your help we now have more than 101,000 signed up to receive Safety Source. Each month, fire departments, health organizations, parents, teachers, businesses, and others get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, and educational tips.  We don’t want anyone to miss out on this valuable tool. Those who haven’t done so already can sign up now .

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Read the October issue of Safety Source, NFPA's Public Education newsletter

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Let's celebrate Safety Source public education e-newsletter

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!July issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education e-newsletter, is now available

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Read the new issue of NFPA's public education newsletter

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!August issue of Safety Source newsletter

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Are you getting the latest NFPA public education news?

Gas pumpsAuthorities recently arrested a Georgia man who unintentionally set his wife on fire after flicking a lighter at a gas station.

According to a story on, fire officials allege that the man, who has been charged with reckless conduct, ignited a cigarette lighter while filling his pickup truck with gas last month. A fuel vapor explosion occurred, resulting in second- and third-degree injuries on his wife's legs, arms, back, and head. The man suffered minor injuries to his hand, according to the story. 

NFPA urges drivers to exercise caution while filling their tanks. For instance, don't smoke, light matches, or use lighters while refueling. Also, don't get in and out of your car while refueling, as this action could cause static electricity and spark a fire.

Read all of NFPA's service station safety tips.

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