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Over the past week, quite a few home fire success stories have been popping up in the news; in all of them, the entire family escaped safely due to working smoke alarms. Here are snapshots from a few of the headlines:

The common thread in all these stories remains the same: working smoke alarms alert people to fire and give them the time needed escape safely, particularly when they’re sleeping.

Test your smoke alarms today and remember to change the batteries once a year!        

NFPA is the coordinator of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks, which comprises nearly 25 national and state organizations that work together to help keep the public safe from consumer fireworks. The Alliance urges people to only attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals.

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Steve Coan, a member of the Alliance, reinforced those messages at a press event in Lowell, MA, last week, demonstrating the inherent risks of consumer fireworks; in Massachusetts, use of consumer fireworks is illegal.

Lowell Presser_web
Massachusetts SFM Steve Coan welcomes local press to fireworks event that demonstrates the dangers and unpredictability of consumer fireworks.


A recent article in the International Business Times, "Fireworks Injuries Flare Up as Some Accused of Glorifying Illegal Displays", also addressed these issues, siting Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics which show that fireworks were involved in 8 deaths and 11,400 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2013. Lorraine Carli, NFPA's vice president of outreach and advocacy, was quoted in the story as well, stating, "Consumer fireworks are inherently dangerous. There's really no safe way to use them."

Take some time to review NFPA's videos, resources and safety tips on fireworks safety to ensure a festive, safe holiday for you and your loved ones.

A home fire broke out Sunday morning in Beverly, England, when a fire pit used earlier that day ignited nearby garden furniture and spread to fencing near the home’s garage. It was an extensive fire that caused significant damage.

Thanks to working smoke alarms, two adults and three children escaped unharmed prior to the arrival of the fire service.

Smoke alarms central“The smoke alarm did its job and alerted the family to the fire, it could have been a far different outcome had this not happened. I urge all residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes. If a fire does break out, it could save your life,” said Steve Hellewell, community safety manager at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.
Smoke alarms can and do make a life-saving difference in a fire. Use this story as a reminder to test yours today!

A recent article on reminds people to use caution when heading out to use the grill this summer. The author quoted the Altoona, Blair County Fire Inspector who says he responds to nearly 500 calls about outdoor grilling fires and burns during an average summer. That’s 500 calls too many in my book.  Grills

Thankfully, the word is spreading about the proper use of grills, but there’s still lots of work to be done. Consider the facts from NFPA’s Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment report:

  • Gas grills constitute a higher risk, having been involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires in 2007 – 2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires.

As June and July are the peak months for grilling fires, and with the July 4th holiday fast approaching, sooner is better than later when it comes to following important safety considerations. I say, let’s start working on reducing these numbers.

NFPA has some great tips to follow when you fire up the grill this summer. Download our grilling safety tips sheet or our newest grilling infographic developed by the U.S. Fire Administration, and keep it handy. We have lots more information, too, on our grilling safety web pages. Check them all out. Then share them with family and friends. Start a dialogue and get everyone working together ... let’s all have a safe and fun summer season.

Just the other day I came across some sobering information from Minnesota on cooking fires that I wanted to share.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division’s (SFMD) preliminary (annual) Fire in Minnesota report, kitchen fires killed more people in 2013 than the previous seven years combined.

What upsets me too, is, six people died last year in fires caused by someone leaving the food they were cooking, unattended. Unattended cooking — which caused an average of less than one death each year since 2006 — joined careless smoking as the top cause of fire fatalities last year in the state.

I don’t know if you’ve looked at NFPA’s latest “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment” report or some of the statistics on our cooking web pages, but our numbers confirm what is happening across the country these days when it comes to cooking fires. According to the NFPA report, in 2011, cooking was involved in more than 150,000 home structures fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments and …. unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in structural fires from 2007 – 2011.

NFPA takes cooking safety very seriously. Whether you’re creating a gourmet meal in your kitchen or throwing some steaks on the grill, let’s all do the right thing and help keep ourselves and our families safe. Follow these important steps:

  • Be mindful and stay alert when cooking
  • Watch what you heat and never leave your cooking area unattended
  • Keep children and any flammable materials away from heat sources and cooking area

For more quick tips, download our free cooking safety tips sheet and our newest cooking infographic. Tack it on your fridge where you can review it every day. To quote the Minnesota State Fire Marshal, let's help drive the number of fatalities down.

Let's start today!

Saturday, June 21st marked the first official day of summer and that means days filled with outdoor pool and lawn parties and camping excursions. So, what goes hand-in-hand with these fun activities? You guessed it, grilling.

Did you know that June and July are the peak months for grilling fires? According to an NFPA report on home fires involving cooking equipment, gas grills were involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires from 2007-2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires. 

But we can definitely do something about lowering those statistics, right? This new infographic, developed by NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration, provides an easy way to remember important safety tips when it comes time to cook up your favorite burgers. You can find the infographic on NFPA's grilling safety webpage along with other great resources like videos and a tip sheet. Or just download the PDF and print it out. It's the perfect "garnish" to your family meal ... posting it on your fridge will serve as a great reminder to "do the right thing" each time you fire up the grill. 

Take a look today and share it with your friends and family. You'll be glad you did.



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NFPA’s revised lightning safety tip sheet has clear, concise messaging to appeal to wider audiences about the dangers of lightning. Thunder and lightning storms happen all the time, but lightning strikes and lightning fires occur most often in the summer.  As the National Weather Service commemorates Lightning Safety Awareness Week , keep safety measures in mind.

    • If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Look for shelter inside a home, large building, or a hard-topped vehicle right away.

    • Do not go under trees for shelter.

    • Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder before leaving your shelter.

    • Stay away from windows and doors. Stay off porches.

    • There is no safe place outside.

    • If a person is struck by lightning, call 911. Get medical help right away.


You can review additional lightning safety information and all of NFPA’s safety tips sheets on the website.

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!String of deadly lightning strikes underscores the need for safety precautions during weather events
!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Read the May issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education newsletter

On Sunday morning just before 5:00 a.m., a man slept through his smoke alarm sounding due to a cooking fire. Fortunately, four-year-old Trystan Dezalia heard the alarm and awoke his family, worried about the “strange noise” coming from the other side of the wall. Trystan’s parents could smell the smoke from the next door apartment, then promptly contacted 911 and woke up all their neighbors. 

When fire departments arrived, they encountered heavy smoke but no flames. They removed the man from the apartment, who was still sleeping but uninjured. According to Fire Chief Mark Burrows of the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Company, there’s no telling how much how much smoke the man might have inhaled – and what kind of injuries he might have suffered – had the little boy next door not heard the alarm.

Download our smoke alarm safety tip sheet and learn more about the potentially life-saving impact of smoke alarms on NFPA's Smoke Alarms Central, which includes a wealth of information on properly installing and maintaining smoke alarms throughout your home and much more.

Lightning safety

This year, from June 22rd to 28th, the National Weather Service is commemorating Lightning Safety Awareness Week. This is an important educational week for them, and us, because summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena--lightning. Though lightning strikes peak in summer, people are struck year round. In the United States, according to the latest NFPA report, local fire departments respond to an estimated average of 22,600 fires per year that were started by lightning. These fires cause an average of nine civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries, and $451 million in direct property damage per year. 

The National Weather Service has provided many educational resources on their website, including information on;

  • Safety: Learn what you need to do to stay safe when thunderstorms threaten.
  • Victims: Learn what happens to people who are struck by lightning and look at fatality statistics for the U.S.
  • Science: Learn how thunderstorms develop and what happens during a lightning discharge.
  • Myths and Facts: Get answers to many of the questions you have always wondered about
  • Teachers: find curriculum guides, presentations games, activities, and more.
  • Kids: Download games, videos, coloring pages and other fun stuff.
  • More Resources: Download toolkits, posters, pamphlets, and other information to help communities, organizations, and families stay safe from the dangers of lightning

In addition, NFPA offers lightning safety tips in an easy to read tip sheet. Check them out above or download these NFPA safety tips on lightning. 

Two early morning fires that occurred this Wednesday underscore the life-saving impact of working smoke alarms, particularly when people are sleeping:

A man in Jacksonville, FL, escaped a massive fire in his home when he heard his smoke alarms sound.bowden

“If the smoke detector hadn’t woke me up, I might not have made it out,” said homeowner Robert Koon. Koon's brother, who was sleeping when the alarms sounded, also escaped safely.

Similarly, in Pueblo, CO, a mother and daughter escaped a home fire when the smoke alarms sounded and woke them up as well.Photo

These incidents represent two more powerful reminders why it's so important to test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries each year.

Check out NFPA’s Smoke Alarm Central page for a wealth of information on smoke alarms, including guidelines for installing and maintaining them properly.

Officers Photo

The Urban Fire and Life Safety Education Task Force met in Las Vegas June 6-7 in advance of the NFPA Conference and Expo. The task force, composed of public fire safety educators/community risk reduction officers from North American cities with populations of 250,000 or more, examines the unique challenges facing fire and life safety educators in large cities and develops strategies to address those challenges. The group elected a new leadership team as pictured: Vice-Chairperson, Kwame Cooper, Los Angeles City Fire Department; Chairperson, Derrick Sawyer, Philadelphia Fire Department; and Secretary, John Concha, El Paso (Texas) Fire Department.


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Members of the fire service and allied health professionals who recently participated in the annual Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults conference have returned to their communities and are now implementing the program.


The 2 ½ day conference took place the first week of June in Las Vegas in advance of the NFPA Conference & Expo. During the highly interactive training, 30 teams from the fire service and representatives of agencies that serve older adults learned effective ways to conduct presentations for older adults to help them reduce their risk of fires and falls.

The program, recently updated, can be downloaded at no cost from the NFPA web site.!|border=0|src=|alt=2014 RW conf1 Group Photo|title=2014 RW conf1 Group Photo|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73ddb801f970d image-full img-responsive!


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!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Remembering When Conference precedes NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas

John Little, 66, was confused when he heard his smoke alarms sound at about 11pm. That’s because he’s diligent about testing them regularly. “I thought that’s odd because I’d only just checked and changed the batteries,” he said.

When Little entered the kitchen, he saw flames coming out the back of his refrigerator. He grabbed a bucket of water and threw it on the fire. From there, he and his older brother Bruce, 77, escaped their home safely.THANKFUL: Smoke alarms warned John, 66, (left) and Bruce, 71, when their fridge caught fire recently after they went to bed. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

The local newspaper noted that Little doesn’t like thinking about what might have happened had he not been alerted to the fire by smoke alarms. “It could have taken hold really quickly and we’d have probably been killed by the smoke… We got out in time.”

What’s Little’s advice? “ …make sure your smoke alarms are working. It could save your life.”

Yet another success story that reinforces why it’s so important to test your smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries each year.


!|src=|alt=CAT AND ALEX|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=CAT AND ALEX|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a3fd1f490f970b img-responsive!My husband and I adopted a kitten last weekend. We’ve named her Savannah. Actually, I named her Savannah and my husband agreed to go along with it.

I now know why people say that kittens get into everything. Savannah has turned our home into her personal roadside carnival. She uses our laps as a bouncy house, the underside of the armoire as her haunted mansion, the top of the decorative gate that separates our kitchen from the sunken living room is the high wire for practicing her trapeze artistry, and the coffee table is her drop tower.

When she grows tired of all of that, she lands in my husband’s sock drawer, nestling among either athletic or dress–she has no preference–and follows us with her eyes, daring us to make her move.


That’s why my husband and I spent the weekend “cat-proofing” our home. Besides tucking away cords !|src=|alt=CAT AND VELCRO|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=CAT AND VELCRO|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a511cecace970c img-responsive! and items that dangle, we’ve put away all of the traditional candles and are adamant about keeping her away from the stove and kitchen countertops.


NFPA’s safety information includes a cooking safety tip sheet that reminds us to keep a “kid-free” zone of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried. The rule also applies to pets. The candle safety tip sheet also has important suggestions that can be applied to our domesticated companions.

Savannah is only eight weeks old. We expect her to be a daredevil for quite some time. And we’ll continue to do our best to keep her–and ourselves–safe.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Include pets in your fire safety plan

4th of July Sparky Activity

It’s easy to get into the July 4th spirit with this month’s fun craft from Sparky. Kids can make red, white, and blue globes glow with a battery-operated candle. They will look great at that patriotic gathering and when it’s over, they’ll look super cool indoors. Sparky also teaches kids about the danger of fireworks and what to do if they see any.


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Are you looking for information on smoke alarms to teach to your elementary school class? Do you need to purchase a smoke alarm and want to learn about the different kinds that are available? Are you in the fire service and need to raise awareness about smoke alarms? Do you want to tack a smoke alarm tip sheet to the refrigerator to remind the family about important smoke alarm safety messages? If so, you'll want to pay a visit to NFPA's new web page, Smoke Alarm Central , your complete source for smoke alarm information, tip sheets, music videos, free apps, and more.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Protect the ones you love; install photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA infographic emphasizes smoke alarm safety information and statistics

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Child uses his savings to buy smoke alarms

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA provides new safety tip sheets en Espanol!

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!When smoke alarms sound, sometimes it's neighbors who save the day

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Smoke alarms and home fire escape planning: A life-saving combination

Club 12

While cruising through Las Vegas for NFPA’s 2014 Conference and Expo, NFPA’s official mascot Sparky the Fire Dog® made a special visit to the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Las Vegas (BGCSLV) this morning. In front of some 50 children ages 5 to 11, Sparky held a fun, informative fire safety lesson that focused on the importance of smoke alarms and testing them monthly. He also wagged his tail to NFPA’s “What’s that sound?” video, which reminds everyone that if you hear a “beep, beep, beep, if there’s a fire, you’ve got to move your feet!”

A special thanks to the Northern Las Vegas Fire Department who also participated in the event and brought along their fire truck, sharing cool facts about how they use it to fight fires. Last but not least, a huge kudos to the parents of all the BGCSLV children – they were an incredibly polite, well-behaved group!

Club susan

Club 2

Club 3

Club 13

Club 4

Club 6

Club 7

Club 8

Club 9

Club 11

Club 14

At this afternoon's Opening General Session during the first day of NFPA Conference & Expo, we announced the theme of the 2014 Fire Prevention Week. To make the announcement, Chairman of the Board Phil Stittleburg joined NFPA's very lovable mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog. 




Samantha Receives AwardSamantha Hoffmann, public fire and life safety officer for Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, Barrie, Ontario, received the NFPA Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award this afternoon. The award was presented during the general session of the NFPA Conference & Expo. Hoffmann, pictured to the left, is flanked by NFPA Board of Director's First Vice Chair Ernest Grant (left) and Chairman Philip Stittleburg. Hoffmann's achievements were highlighted during a video presentation.

She has been using NFPA educational materials since 1989. She began her fire safety career as the Fire Marshal and Emergency Planning Coordinator for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, introducing the Learn Not to Burn program to the young patients.

Sparky Statue at AwardMore recently, after joining Barrie Fire and Emergency Service she took Learn Not to Burn to new heights through a partnership she developed with the TVO Kids television program, seen by thousands of children every day. Hoffmann is a frequent guest and helps create programming. She launched the "Push the Button" campaign to encourage children and their parents to test their smoke alarms and has helped develop videos and online safety games.

Hoffmann will be the speaker at the Education Section Business meeting, being held during the conference on Tuesday, June 10, at 1:30 p.m. 

PUBLIC EDUCATION BOOTHIf you're in Las Vegas this week attending the NFPA Conference & Expo, be sure to stop by the Public Education booth at the Expo, booth 857.

The booth is stocked with the latest public education materials, including the updated Remembering When program, Learn Not to Burn Preschool and Level1/Grade1, Sparky the Fire Dog materials, flyers, brochures, and safety tip sheets.  

You'll also find applications for the 2015 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award and get to catch up with Public Education Division staff.The expo opens today at 3:30 p.m. and runs until Wednesday.

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Antilliano Estrella and Pat Mieszala, NFPA Trainers and Public Education Advisors role play at the Remembering When Conference

Thirty teams of fire service members and allied health professionals from around the country gathered in Las Vegas for the 2014 Remembering When™:  A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults conference.The event ran in advance of the NFPA Conference and Expo kicking off on Monday June 9. The event took place June 4-6 at the Luxor Hotel.

According to NFPA statistics, adults aged 65 and older are twice as likely to be killed in a home fire compared to the general population, and falls are the leading cause of death from injuries to those in the same age group. NFPA hosts this conference annually as part of its ongoing effort to help reduce fires and falls among older adults .

The Remembering When program was developed by NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help older adults live safely at home for as long as possible. Together, NFPA and CDC created 16 key safety messages – eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention – to help educate and protect the most vulnerable of older adults.

Each year, NFPA awards scholarships to establish partnerships between fire departments and home visit agencies for the implementation of Remembering When at the local level.

During the conference, participants discussed effective ways to perform group presentations for older adults to teach them about fire and fall risk reduction strategies, along with tips on how to include Remembering When components into home visits. The home visits allow the program to be personalized for each client’s unique safety needs in the home.


NFPA recently refreshed the program with updated statistics and other material. The Remembering When program and materials are available from NFPA at no cost and can be downloaded from the Remembering When page on NFPA's website.</p>


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The Fire Prevention Kids page is now available for viewing on The page is chock full of activities for the kids designed to remind them about the importance of having working smoke alarms, including a smoke alarm safety sheet, smoke alarm tracing exercise and math sequencing. New features on also include:

A new printable activity sheet : Kitchen safety hidden picture for kids.


Additional smoke alarm safety information is available on the smoke alarm page on the NFPA web site.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA and Domino's Pizza kick-off FPW deliveries
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Child uses his savings to buy smoke alarms
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA and Sparky want you to read for fire safety
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Sparky takes the fire safety message on the road
!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA provides new safety tip sheets en Espanol!


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A smoke alarm installation program in your community can make a measurable difference in reducing deaths and injuries from fire. The updated “[Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program |]” is a comprehensive guide including everything you’ll need to get started, from tips on how to select volunteers, to pointers on soliciting donations and publicizing your program.

You’ll get advice from the experts: safety advocates from across the country who’ve conducted their own successful smoke alarm installation programs in all kinds of communities, from urban areas, to rural hamlets, to sprawling suburbs.


NFPA&#39;s smoke alarm page includes a number of resources in addition to the smoke alarm guide: smoke alarm tips sheets , videos , statistical information , and Sparky’s Schoolhouse resources for teachers and families.

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Read the May 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%;!Child uses his savings to buy smoke alarms

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA provides new safety tip sheets en Espanol!

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!New NFPA infographic emphasizes smoke alarm safety information and statistics

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!NFPA Journal asks if you replace your smoke alarm every 10 years

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