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2015

 

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Ten adults and 11 children were displaced from their homes earlier this week after an apartment building caught fire in Auburn, New York. The Auburn Citizen reported that the fire was started by smoking materials, which caught fire in a trash can.


Fire officials noted that smoke alarms in one of the units were disabled because the batteries had been removed. The smoke alarm of a neighbor did sound, alerting people to get out.


According to NFPA statistics:


    • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

    • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

    • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.


 

[Smoke Alarm Central | http://www.nfpa.org/smokealarms] on the NFPA website includes statistics, tips on installing smoke alarms, videos, and the Smoke Alarm Safety Tips sheet in English and Spanish. In addition, the smoke alarm community toolkit and the guide, Planning and implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program offer fire and life safety educators tools for launching installation programs and public awareness campaigns.


!http://i.zemanta.com/339617732_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/339617732_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Smoking blamed for displacing dozens of residents in neighboring Massachusetts communities
!http://i.zemanta.com/343452423_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/343452423_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Early Morning Cooking Fire Displaces Family
!http://i.zemanta.com/342594628_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/342594628_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Extension cord fire leaves two dead

baseball.jpgBaseball brings back memories for me of the hot and fun days that make summer so cool.  My husband and I love to visit ballparks all over the United States to see the baseball stadiums and experience the different cultures.  A colleague of mine in Tennessee has taken the fun of baseball and added in fire safety.  The Smokies Kids Safety Day, funded by Kohls Cares for Kids, took place this month and was a 3 day event that included a safety relay race.  Over 18,000 kids and adults participated in this event with the Tennessee Smokies- a Minor League Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

 

The safety relay race included students who fitted a life jacket and bike helmet, tested a smoke alarm and also demonstrated stop, drop, and roll.  Firefighters from Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, Severville Fire Department, Rural Metro Fire Department, Knoxville Fire Department, and Karns Volunteer Fire Department along with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital helped to set up this interactive and educational fun day.  Just another reminder that safety can be fun.

 

NFPA has many music videos and our own Hula Hoop Relay game to teach kids and adults alike. High five to Tennessee for thinking outside of the box and making fire safety fun.

Hurricane Preparedness Tip Sheet

National Hurricane Preparedness Week is underway and continues through Saturday, May 30th. The purpose is to spread awareness of the dangers and hazards of hurricanes and ensure that every family has a disaster plan, every business has a disaster checklist, and everyone gets out of the path of a hurricane safely.

Sparky GraphicNFPA’s community toolkit, Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster, a comprehensive guide for fire departments to give firefighters and other first responders the tools they need to help local residents prepare for disaster before disaster strikes, includes a fact sheet on hurricane preparedness in English and Spanish. The fact sheet helps residents prepare before, during, and after a hurricane.

The Get Ready toolkit is a great resource on other disasters and includes fact sheets on blackouts, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and nuclear accidents. These and others are available in English and Spanish.

Bucket Brigade

It is with a heavy heart that we at NFPA say good-bye to a friend and colleague. Joe Flores, an NFPA Education Section Board director, passed away over the weekend. He was in his third year as a director (pictured above on the far right with the Education Section board at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, New York last fall).

Joe was a retired Philadelphia Fire Department captain who spent many years in the fire prevention division. He went on to become a safety specialist at the University of Pennsylvania and also taught in the fire science program at a community college. He was president of the Citizens for Fire Prevention Committee, a nonprofit with the mission of reducing deaths, injuries, and property and environmental damage caused by fire.

Passionate about fire safety education, Joe was a consultant for NFPA's Urban Fire and Life Safety Task Force and an NFPA-certified fire protection specialist. He was a Learn Not to Burn® champion and champion for Risk Watch®, formerly NFPA’s childhood injury prevention program. Joe helped to secure more than $250,000 in grant money to support Risk Watch in Philadelphia.

He was recognized by the Philadelphia Fire Department and the mayor for the development and implementation of a young firesetter program and was awarded the distinguished Chapel of the four Chaplains award for unselfish contributions to the community.

“Joe was thrilled to be elected to the NFPA Ed Section Executive Board,” says Patricia Mieszala, past board chair. “His humble, pleasant, and respectful manner was constant and represented a very dedicated, hardworking professional who was a loyal, loving friend. He dearly loved his family. His contributions to the people of Philly will live on through the Citizens for Fire Prevention Committee as well as through those who worked with him at the Philadelphia Fire Department and other agencies and organizations. He will be missed by many, especially by our NFPA Ed Section Board as we plan to meet in Chicago next month.”

kellyR.jpgI am in the middle of remodeling my kitchen and have been enjoying eating out for a few days.  But I do miss using my stovetop and oven since they’ve been missing in action.  An early morning fire yesterday in Memphis, Tenn. that I read about  in localmemphis.com is a great reminder to me about taking safety precautions in the kitchen when my remodeling is done.  Thanks to a working smoke alarm, the family was able to get out of their home and call the fire department. Firefighters near Memphis reminded citizens to never leave food unattended while cooking and to always have working smoke alarms.

 

In addition, residents can call the Memphis Fire Department to have their smoke alarms checked or replaced.  The Memphis house fire reminds us that unattended cooking fires can happen any time of year and time of day.  As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, let’s take a look at NFPA’s many safety tips designed to keep your family safe. Visit Cooking Fire Safety Central to get a refresher on all types of cooking precautions.  The cooking infographic is a great addition for social media and the short informational videos can be used all year.  Bon appétit! Here’s  to a safe start to summer.

Just yesterday, NFPA's vice president for outreach & advocacy, Lorraine Carli, said to me, "I'm not sure anyone would have ever used my name and Martha Stewart in the same sentence!" And she's right, many of us here probably never would have thought about it, but today we're happy to announce that NFPA is now a regular content contributor for Martha Stewart Living (MSL)! MS Grilling

Each month we'll write about a different fire safety topic and share it with the millions of MSL followers. This month, we write about grilling fire safety. Read the post and write a comment. You can also share it with the ones you love! As many of you may know, the Martha Stewart brand and mission focus on helping people live a beautiful, artful, creative and rich life everyday. Starting this month, NFPA is excited to share its safety messages with the MSL audience in a continued effort to help people create fuller lives by staying safer from fire and other related hazards.

Come June, we'll focus on outdoor party decorations and the safest way to use lighting displays. During the summer and beyond, you'll find additional posts on topics such as wildfire safety, Halloween safety and holiday cooking. We're looking forward to sharing our knowledge and passion with our Martha Stewart Living audience in the many months to come. Won't you join us? We look forward to "seeing" you!

NOTE: Image/Caption first appeared on MarthaStewart.com

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d115db30970c-800wi|border=0|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d115db30970c-800wi|alt=FAMILY CAR TRIP|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=FAMILY CAR TRIP|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d115db30970c img-responsive!Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. According to AAA, an estimated 37.2 million Americans–a 4.7 percent increase over last year–will travel 50 miles or more between May 21 and May 25, Memorial Day. Of those travelers 89 percent will drive to their destination.


 

Now is a great time to review NFPA’sCar Fire Safety tips sheet, which advises on what to do if your car is on fire, how to prevent a car fire, and knowing the danger signs of problems with your car.


 

If you need to keep the kids busy on the car ride, Sparky the Fire Dog ® offers all kinds of games, stories, and activities. In addition, the Sparky School House includes a storybook app and eBook that are both educational and fun.


 

And if you’ll be staying at a hotel, you’ll want to review the Hotel and Motel Safety tips sheet, which advises choosing a hotel/motel that is protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system, reviewing the escape plan posted in the room, finding the exits, and leaving right away if the alarm sounds.


!http://i.zemanta.com/340993010_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/340993010_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!If not for sprinkler system Minnesota fire could have been much worse

!http://i.zemanta.com/338171449_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/338171449_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Celebrate National Poetry Month with Sparky

!http://i.zemanta.com/338524659_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/338524659_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Celebrate Earth Day with NFPA and Firewise

Yesterday, NFPA kicked off the grilling season with the launch of its first of two new new grilling safety videos

In our second video, "A Simple Test for Checking Gas Grill Leaks," we share a couple of quick and easy but important tips to prepare your grill before you even start to cook those burgers and steaks.

Prepare my grill, you ask? But whatever do you mean? After a long winter season of hibernation (OK, in some parts of the country!) your grill has been stored away and covered up never to see the light of day until today. It's important to do a complete safety check on the grill to ensure everyone's safety at the next cookout or BBQ.

NFPA refers to this as the "soapy bubble test" and this video takes your though the process step-by-step. Not to mention, it's kind of a cool name, eh? Take a look and let us know what you think! If you're someone who does this each year, let us know. Your diligence is sure to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

 

Find this video and other great information on our grilling fire safety web page at www.nfpa.org/grilling. And share all of the videos with your friends and family. 

By practicing it each time you grill and sharing your knowledge, you'll be well on your way to a having a safe and fun cookout every day of the year!

Here's to a happy and very safe grilling season, everyone!

PBS KIDSIn a “Kids in Action” video on PBS Kids, the Friedman family of Rhode Island talks about how they safely evacuated their home during a fire and how they’ve recovered from the experience.

Ten-year-old Jonah (pictured) tells of the frightening moments of waking up to the smell of smoke the night of the fire and then running into his parents’ room to tell his mother, Brook. She and the three boys got out safely. Brook’s husband was traveling for work.

In the video the family talked about how they followed their escape plan by leaving the house immediately and going to their designated meeting place, a neighbor’s house, and waiting there for the fire department to arrive.

The children talked about the toys they lost in the fire and how relieved they were that their pets were okay. Since the fire the family has changed their smoke alarms and test them every month. Their escape plan keeps them from worrying, Brook said.

Public Education Division Senior Project Manager Amy LeBeau wrote a column on the Friedman’s experience in the January/February 2013 issue of NFPA Journal.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb0830f36a970d-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb0830f36a970d-320wi|alt=Outdoor electrical safety|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Outdoor electrical safety|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb0830f36a970d img-responsive!It’s hard to turn on the television these days or flip through a magazine without being reminded that we’re in the season of spring cleaning projects. We’re given tips on how to declutter our kitchens, organize our home offices, make our bathrooms smell like a citrus forest, and sweep, swish, and spray just about everything.


 

For those who take their spring cleaning outdoors, NFPA’s Outdoor Electrical Safety tips sheet offers advice for decluttering while maintaining safety.


    • Store electrical tools indoors.

    • Keep the area around your electric meter and other electrical equipment clear.

    • Have a professional tree cutting service trim branches that might fall on electrical wiring.


 

Information on electrical safety in the home, as well as a video on electrical safety, and the observance this month of National Electrical Safety Month can be found on the NFPA website.


!http://i.zemanta.com/342957919_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/342957919_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Spring cleaning: a Firewise thing
!http://i.zemanta.com/338524659_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/338524659_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Celebrate Earth Day with NFPA and Firewise

Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away and for those of us here in New England, it could not have come at a better time. After enduring what seemed like the longest winter EVER, we can actually smell the flowers and see grass growing again!

With spring in the air most people are already hard at work planning for lots of fun outdoor parties and cookouts this weekend and beyond. Are you one of them? If you are, then you'll want to check out NFPA's newest videos that will help you kick off the grilling season safely and in style. 

But before you start, let me ask, do you:

* Know how to turn on the grill safely?

* Know what to do if the grill doesn't ignite or the flame goes out?

* Know how to turn off the grill safely?

You might be surprised at the answers. To find the correct response to these questions, watch NFPA's first of two grilling fire safety videos below or find it on our grilling fire safety web page. We believe that this short, fun video will have you thinking differently about your cookouts and BBQs from now on, AND you'll stay safer each time you fire up the grill. 

 

Want more great information? Then check out our full grilling fire safety page where you'll find information about propane and charcoal grills, a great tips sheet that's easy to download and share with friends and family, interesting statistics, and our latest infographic that reminds us why grilling safely is so important and should be taken seriously.

Enjoy a safe and happy grilling season, everyone! 

Up next: A simple test for checking gas grill leaks.

As we take action to clean up around the homestead after a long winter, let us think about how we can create a Firewise home and landscape, not only focusing on the vegetation surrounding our home, but also the “human treasure” that we simply cannot seem to get rid of.  We all know that someday we

Burning Tires
Tires burning image on Linked in

might need these items.  Many of these treasures, such as old tires, leftover wood, sofas and other furniture items and papers can contribute to debris piles often located in close proximity to the home. This creates a scenario where we have put kindling around the home that will make it easier to ignite if there is a wildfire.  Make sure the items that you are storing do have value.  Hoarding items outside can be just as hazardous as hoarding excess items inside.  The NFPA offers some great resources to help fire service professionals and others with these potentially hazardous conditions. If you choose to keep these items, do not store them next to the home or under the deck, rather put them in the garage or in an enclosed shed.

Even such things as open garbage cans under the eaves, flammable attachments such as trellises with dead vines, coco or rattan door mats, and patio cushions can create hazardous conditions for a home during a wildfire event.   Make sure that your garbage cans have lids and are not located under the eaves of your home. Use nonflammable attachments and remove all dead vegetation away from your home.  If you are going to be away from your home, take door mats and patio cushions inside.

Create a healthy and Firewise homestead this year as you do your spring cleaning so that you can have “A Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire”.

Trashy House 1
Image from Becu website trashy yards
Trashy house 2
Image from Becu website trashy yards

Don't let your home look like this!  Piles of "human treasures"  located in close proximity to a home can act like kindling to a campfire.

  Extension Cord Fire

A fire in Palm Beach County, Florida, believed to be started by an extension cord in a mobile home, left twin 14-year-old girls dead and sent their mother to a nearby hospital early today, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

“We received news early this morning of a horrible tragedy that has taken the lives of two of our students. We are devastated by this unthinkable loss,” the girls’ school principal, Michael Aronson, is quoted in the Palm Beach Post as saying in a written statement.

When firefighters arrived at the home, they saw Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies pulling one person through the front window of the mobile home. Crews made their way into the smoke-filled home, pulled out one occupant and later located the third person.

There was a smoke alarm in the home, but no battery was found inside, according to fire officials.

NFPA’s electrical safety tips and tips sheet offer information about the safe use of electrical cords and extension cords. The electrical safety in the home section of the website offers an overview of electrical safety around the house.

Lego 1st responder days

First Responder Days at LEGOLAND Florida are back! During the month of May, all Police, Fire and EMS employees will receive one complimentary single day ticket to LEGOLAND Florida Resort. They may also purchase up to an additional 4 single day tickets for $40 each. 

You'll need to present your employment status photo ID at the front gate to redeem this offer. Visit www.legoland.com for more information and have fun!

MayThe May issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education enewsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find;  

  • Electrical safety month information
  • Burglar bars examined in fatal TX fire
  • End-of-the-school-year ideas on fire safety
  • Care and Maintenance: new projects on long-term health of firefighters 

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.

Fall Prevention CardRecent statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that just over 59% of the U.S. population 65 and over didn’t meet muscle strengthening or aerobic exercise recommendations for physical activity. A team of researchers decided to examine the issue more closely. In interviews conducted for the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) among people 65 and older who lived in the community studied, 5,247 women and men were asked to name their favorite activities.

The most frequently mentioned were walking/jogging; outdoor maintenance; playing sports; reading; and “other” physical activity. With the exception of reading, all of the top five were physical activities.

These findings are encouraging. Exercising regularly is one of the key fall prevention messages of NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults. Statistics show that 30 percent of people age 65 and older are involved in falls each year; some of these falls are fatal while others are permanently disabling.

Keeping in mind the NHATS findings, public educators Logoand others implementing the Remembering When program in their communities can know that a vast number of older adults will be receptive to their suggestions to step up the physical activity. 

 

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Twelve students had to be relocated from their USC dorm after a late-night mattress fire on Sunday. According to NBC Los Angeles, the fire, quickly put out by the Los Angeles Fire Department, caused $2,500 in damage, more than half to the structure itself. About 60 people had to evacuate. No one was injured.


 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d112d728970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d112d728970c-320wi|alt=Campus Fire Safety Tips Sheet|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Campus Fire Safety Tips Sheet|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d112d728970c img-responsive!Fire investigators determined that candles that were briefly left unattended caused the fire. Fire sprinklers held the smoky fire in check before 20 firefighters put out the fire entirely.


 

NFPA’s College Campus Fire Safety tips sheet advises burning candles only if they’re permitted by the school, placing them away from anything that can burn and never leaving a candle unattended. The Candle Safety tips sheet reminds us of the option of flameless candles that look and smell like real candles.


According to NBC Los Angeles, students said the dorm fire sent a strong message and that they would start taking the rule against candle use in the dorms seriously.


!http://i.zemanta.com/340993010_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/340993010_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!If not for sprinkler system Minnesota fire could have been much worse

!http://i.zemanta.com/340993003_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/340993003_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Thousands learn of the dangers of sky lanterns

!http://i.zemanta.com/339559092_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/339559092_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!In April's issue of Safety Source: new Shabbat fire safety tip sheet, carbon monoxide educational resources & more

Hand made mom

Celebrate that special woman in your life with a creative project from Sparky the Fire Dog®

 The “hand”-made dish is not only easy and fun, it includes a fire safety tip too!

carbonMon.jpgAfter many carbon monoxide (CO) deaths across the United States over the winter and last few months, U.S.Senators from New York, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania reintroduced legislation yesterday that would allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide resources that support public education and installation of CO alarms.  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas  and is known as the “invisible killer.”  This poisonous gas can come from many sources, including incomplete combustion in cars, malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances, and incomplete combustion in engine-powered equipment. The only way to detect CO is with a working CO alarm. NFPA and CPSC  have teamed up to create a carbon monoxide community toolkit. It has everything you need to raise awareness in your community about the dangers of CO. You can also use the Carbon Monoxide Safety tips sheet to learn more about CO safety.

Mother's Day GraphicFor Mother’s Day, my father and I like to take my mother and an aunt to a fine dining restaurant in the Connecticut countryside that features a floor to ceiling stone fireplace and panoramic view of a lush landscape. We make the rounds at the buffet, which includes an omelet station, carved filet mignon, shrimp and scallop scampi and dozens of other choices of diet-busting meals and desserts.

Once we’ve filled our plates and taken our seats in the grand ballroom, the wait staff serves us our coffee. As I look around at the other 275 diners, I can’t help but wonder if we could all exit in an orderly fashion if there was a fire emergency and whether or not everyone knows their second way out if the front door becomes blocked as NFPA’s escape planning information advises.

NFPA’s Safety in Places of Public Assembly tips sheet is also a great resource and says the following:

  • Before you enter a building, take a good look. Does the building appear to be in a good condition that makes you feel comfortable?
  • Have a communications plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends.
  • Plan a meeting place. Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function.

The tips sheet also provides details on what to do when you enter the building and how to handle an emergency.

Mother's DaySparky the Fire Dog® has the perfect gifts for that special mom, grandmother, teacher, aunt, sister, or anyone else in your life. Check out this month’s activities for directions and a free printable bookmark for mom or the teacher. Follow the directions to make an awesome craft for mom that includes a fire safety tip, and send a Sparky e-card to wish Mom a happy Mother’s Day.

Angela D. Mickalide, PhD, MCHES, principal investigator and program director, Emergency Medical Services for Children's National Resource Center at Children’s National Health System and member of NFPA’s Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC), has received the 2015 American Burn Angela Headshot 2Association Burn Prevention Award, presented at the opening plenary at the 47th Annual Meeting in Chicago last month. 

Over the course of her career, Dr. Mickalide has been engaged in fire and burn prevention initiatives.  At the Home Safety Council, she led education and outreach efforts for several award-winning FEMA-funded programs.

During her nearly two decades at Safe Kids Worldwide, she was responsible for the organization's domestic and global programs, as well as its research in unintentional childhood injury risk areas, including fire and burn safety programs.

Dr. Mickalide has been a member of EMAC since 2011. The committee of fire and life safety experts meets periodically to review NFPA’s fire safety education messages and provide recommendations to NFPA public education staff for updating and revising the Educational Messages Desk Reference, a standardized guide of fire and life safety messages.

skyLanterns.jpg

Sky lanterns have become increasingly popular as a way to celebrate. But they pose a serious fire hazard and their use is prohibited by NFPA. Thousands of spectators who attended a lantern festival recently in Gastonia, North Carolina, got to see the dangers of sky lanterns up close.

 

Thousands learn of the dangers of sky lanterns2.jpgAccording to Time Warner News Cable–Charlotte, as the sun set on the Carolina Speedway, thousands of lanterns filled the sky. But then the wind shifted, pushing burning lanterns into a nearby cell tower, causing it to catch on fire.

 

The Union Road Volunteer Fire Department was already on hand in case of emergency, but the ladder truck couldn’t reach the fire, there were no hydrants nearby, and it wasn’t the kind of fire the department had fought before. It took 20 firefighters, nearly 6,000 gallons of water, and help from a neighboring department to put the fire out. No one was injured.

 

NFPA’s Sky Lanterns Safety tips sheet provides information on the hazards of sky lanterns and details on recent fires involving them.

Minnesota Sprinkler Fire

A sprinkler system is being credited with containing a fire at a Minnesota senior citizen high rise this week.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the fire in the city of Hibbing drew a full response from the Hibbing Fire Department and neighboring departments. However, when firefighters arrived the fire had already been contained by the sprinkler system. The building houses senior citizen apartments, an Elks Club banquet center, and an orthodontics clinic.

Firefighters arrived in response to an automatic fire alarm that was triggered. They found smoke coming from a vent near the kitchen of the Elks Club and tenants starting to evacuate the building.

The fire was down to a smolder. Crews put out the remaining smoldering material and ventilated the smoke from the banquet room.

This incident underscores the importance of a home fire sprinkler system. NFPA’s High-rise Apartment and Condominium Safety tips sheet advises that for the best protection, select a fully sprinklered building and be prepared with an escape plan–know the location of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest exit is blocked by fire or smoke. If there is a fire, pull the alarm on your way out. The Home Fire Sprinklers section of the NFPA web site and the tips sheet provide background on how sprinkler systems work, their effectiveness, and cost.

Fire Marshal Fagerstrom determined that the fire was accidental. A steam table overheated and ignited a wood buffet table. He stressed the importance of having a properly maintained sprinkler system.

“The sprinkler system in this fire was serviced and maintained per code and did exactly as it should by containing the fire and keeping it from spreading,” he said in a news release.

May is National Electrical Safety Month. The Electrical Safety Foundation International commemorates  the occasion with an annual campaign to educate the public about steps to reduce electrical-related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property losses.

According to NFPA's Electrical Fires report, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual Safeandenergizedaverage of 47,820 reported home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction in 2007-2011. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, 1,518 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

NFPA’s toolkit on electrical safety provides support materials to help fire departments conduct successful electrical safety campaigns in their communities, including talking points, community outreach ideas, printable PSA’s, media materials, and a video.

In addition, the electrical section of the NFPA website includes information on electrical safety in the home and the Electrical Safety tips sheet, which includes reminders on when to call in a qualified electrician or your landlord.

HOUSTON FIRE

Houston fire officials say that burglar bars made it difficult to get inside a home that caught fire last week. Two adults and a child died as a result of the blaze. According to click2houston.com, Donovan Johnson, 36, was trapped in the house and died at the scene. His pregnant fiancé, Tera Miles, 27, and her three-year-old daughter, Jah’ Niyah Walker, were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

"We had some access problems," said Senior Capt. Ruy Lozano of Houston Fire Department. "The structure had burglar bars all over, although it does keep crime out, it also keeps people in."

The escape planning section of NFPA’s website has the Clear Your Escape Routes brochure in English and Spanish on how to be safe without hindering escaping or being rescued in a fire.

Details are included on hurricane shutters, padlocks, plastic insulation, and security bars that come with a quick release mechanism.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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