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The start of autumn sees falling leaves, amber skies and pumpkin pies. But the end of summer also signals, for students across the country, the beginning of fall semester. While trying to navigate living in their new dorms and off-campus apartment, there are a lot of students who set off the fire alarm. And with an estimated average of 3,810 structure fires in college housing between 2007 and 2011, September and October are essentially peak months for fires in college housing.  

The Center for Campus Safety, with the intention of educating incoming students on fire safety, has marked September of every year as Campus Fire Safety Month.

The following are fire safety tips from the NFPA that can help college students living on their own:

  1. Try to find a fully sprinklered house when looking for a dorm or off-campus housing
  2. Double check that the building has interconnected smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom, and on every floor.
  3. Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all fire drills

The NFPA has published a report, “Structure Fires in Dormitories, Fraternities, Sororities and Barracks” that essentially says that 70 percent of fires begin in the cooking area and that fires are most common in the evening between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m...

A significant number of fires usually happen when a hot stove is left unattended. Students are advised to stay in the kitchen and be alert while preparing meals and to remember to test their smoke alarms every month.

Speaking of which, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!” is the theme for NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week 2014! The annual awareness campaign will be held this year on October 5-11. So information and resources that can help students learn about fire safety can be found of the Fire Prevention Week website.

Sparky bday surpriseSparky’s Birthday Surprise, a new storybook app, was selected as a 2014 Parents’ Choice Award winner by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the nation’s oldest nonprofit consumer guide to quality children’s media!

Sparky’s Birthday Surprise teaches kids ages 3-6 important fire safety skills. The app is jam-packed with learning games, activities, coloring pages, and a sing-a-long. With bright graphics and kid-friendly “tappable” animations throughout, the app is aligned to Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Math.

In the app, it's Sparky's birthday, and his friends are planning a surprise party. While enjoying this interactive, animated story, kids learn what to do if the smoke alarm sounds, how to exit the home safely, and how to choose an outside meeting place with their family. Also included is a special section for caregivers, which offers thoughtful questions designed to spark open-ended conversation and reinforce reading comprehension.

The Parents’ Choice Awards are designed to help parents and caregivers make informed decisions about which new products are right for their children. This app is available in English and Spanish and can be found on the iTunes App Store, Amazon App Store for Android, Google Play and the Barnes & Noble App Store for NOOK TM or


!|src=|alt=Parentschoice LOGO|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=Parentschoice LOGO|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73dfb4a31970d img-responsive!Sparky’s Birthday Surprise app has a Parents’ Choice® Award. Parents’ Choice Foundation serves as a trusted and independent source for educators and librarians, journalists, and families searching for quality children’s media and toys. !|src=|alt=Sparky face|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Sparky face|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a511f01686970c img-responsive!

During the lengthy screening process Sparky’s Birthday Surprise app was evaluated on design and function, educational value, long-term play value, and benefits to a child’s social and emotional growth and well-being.


The Sparky the Fire Dog website received a Parents’ Choice Award in 2013

!|src=|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Sparky the Fire Dog website wins Parents' Choice Award!

!|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

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