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2015

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08975bf3970d-200wi.jpgThe Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, in partnership with the Toronto Fire Service, is launching the “12 Days of Holiday Safety” next week. The campaign kicks off at Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto. One hundred one fire inspectors and public educators from Toronto are scheduled to attend and will pick up gift bags, which include Sparky the Fire Dog® dolls, Sparky ornaments, and smoke alarms designed to remain effective for up to 10 years.

Forty-three other local fire departments are participating as well. Fire departments will work with their local media to announce a fire safety tip every day for 12 days leading up to Christmas. Listeners can phone in at a designated time. The first ones with the correct message of the day will win one of the gift bags. The campaign is expected to provide outreach to hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents.

The safety tips include watering Christmas trees daily, making sure to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, escape planning, candle safety, heating precautions, and electrical, and smoking safety.

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With Thanksgiving in our rear view mirror (already???), it's now fast forward all the way to Hanukkah and Christmas!

 

And as a content partner with our friends at Martha Stewart Living, NFPA recently shared a few of its fire safety tips for the holidays with her audience. Everyone enjoys being part of the holiday preparations, right? From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, the possibilities are endless, and Martha and her readers know how to come up with some beautiful creations. But when there are a lot of people and lots of activity going on around you, it's easy to get distracted.

 

Read our latest blog and get eight simple fire-safety tips that touch on cooking, baking with the kids, using and storing cooking equipment and more - everything that can help you and your family reduce the risk of kitchen fires during this joyous time of year.

 

For more great info about holiday fire safety, don't forget to check out (and share!) our newly designed winter holiday safety web page, and stay tuned for some great new holiday assets you can use and share ... coming soon!

The September NFPA Journal Story “Hey Kids Watch This” brought the trend of disastrous science experiments in the U.S. onto my radar.  As a former classroom, and fire & life safety educator, the idea of unknowingly putting my trusting student audiences in peril’s way, shook me to the core.

 

Then just a mere month later, in Fairfax, Virginia, yet another chemistry class blast hit the news.  Five students and one teacher were injured as a result of another “rainbow demonstration” in which flammable solvents were used on an open bench in an attempt to examine chemicals as they burned at different light frequencies.

When carried out on an open bench using a flammable solvent, the rainbow demonstration is a high-risk operation. The conditions for a flash fire or deflagration are met—a fuel, oxygen, and a source of ignition. Highly flammable solvents, such as methanol, can produce heavier-than-air vapors that move across surfaces and down toward the floor where they spread undetected among unsuspecting, and often up-close, viewers of the demonstration. Even carrying out this demonstration in a chemical hood poses risks if fuel sources are not controlled, and teachers with a limited understanding of the inherent risks endanger both themselves and their students at unnecessarily.

 

NFPA engineer Laura Montville joined me recently on the Christal Frost Radio Show to talk about these dangers and what NFPA is doing in response.  Laura serves as the staff liaison for the NFPA 45 Standard, the standard for fire protection for laboratories using chemicals, and she highlighted warnings put out in a recent NFPA news release and also a similar one by the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).  In December 2013, the CSB released the video “After the Rainbow” that features Calais Weber, a young burn victim of a similar demonstration that was carried out in 2006.  The video emphasizes the dangerous risks associated with this demonstration and the need to follow safer practices. 

 

If you are reading this now, I urge you to take a moment to read and pass along the NFPA Lab Fire Safety 101 Tips Sheet to a teacher you know, whether they are a science teacher or that of another subject area.  We need to work together to spread this important information to prevent even one more young person, parent, or well-meaning teacher from having to live with the devastating consequences of unsafe science.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7f0e22c970b-320wi.pngI don’t know if U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., is familiar with NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults, but with the Call to Action he issued this fall, he’s encouraging activity that supports the work of Remembering When. Dr. Murthy has issued a call to the nation designed to significantly improve the health of the general public.

Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities, recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages.

As Dr. Murthy calls for increased physical activity and improved  access to safe and convenient places to walk and use a wheelchair, he is also helping the public, in particular older adults, lessen their risk of a fall. Remembering When was developed to help older adults live safely at home for as long as possible and includes 16 key safety messages–eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention. The program includes a fall prevention message about physical activity. Exercise regularly to build strength and improve your balance and coordination. Ask your doctor about the best physical exercise for you.

As the public answers Dr. Murthy’s call to “step it up,” they are not only stepping it up for their physical health, but also for their safety from falls.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d17a8bd1970c-800wi.pngFire investigators in Spokane, Washington, have determined that a fireplace and chimney were to blame for a house fire last week. Spokane firefighters were able to keep the home from burning to the ground. The three people living there said they had been using their fireplace the past few days without a problem. Last Friday they tended to it, went to bed and woke up Saturday morning to the sound of smoke alarms.

 

Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Ryan Reding was quoted by KXLY-TV, asking members of the public for vigilance in making sure they have working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, (CO) and that they conduct regular maintenance on their heating appliances. These are important reminders anytime of the year, but especially now, as people are turning up the heat.

 

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.

The heating safety section of the NFPA website provides a number of resources, including statistics, videos and reports, heating safety tips, as well as a safety tips sheet with information on chimney and fireplace safety. The tips sheet also highlights the importance of having working CO alarms.

 

Smoke Alarm Central is your complete source of smoke alarm information.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08946c69970d-800wi.jpgYears ago when I was in the Midwest pursuing a career in television journalism, I couldn’t always get back to the East Coast for the holidays. Elana, a dear friend, welcomed me into her family’s home in Champaign, Illinois, for lovely Thanksgiving feasts. This year, I wanted to send Elana a Thanksgiving Day card to let her know just how much her hospitality meant to me.

But then I realized that the card wouldn’t get to her in time. I thought about Sparky® e-cards. I found a whimsical Thanksgiving Day e-card on Sparky.org that I knew would make Elana smile.

It depicts a team of marshmallows getting themselves in shape for the important role they play on Thanksgiving Day that many of us are familiar with.

Sparky's free e-cards provide us with ways to keep in touch during holidays, milestones, and just because we’re thinking of someone.

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01bb08925db1970d-120wi.jpgRecent media coverage and new Underwriters Laboratories (UL) research has brought to the forefront again the issue of whether fire and life safety educators should be saying people should sleep with bedroom doors shut to be safer from fire. NFPA’s Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC) has reviewed the issue in the past and determined that if residents sleep with bedroom doors closed, it is important that they have interconnected smoke alarms.

 

EMAC will meet March 30-31 at NFPA headquarters in Quincy, MA and is slated to discuss the topic again. And whether or not sleeping with the bedroom door closed should be added to EMAC messaging. EMAC will review new UL research documents, media clips, and other documentation submitted before making a determination on NFPA’s official position. NFPA is accepting comments for revision to the EMAC document through February 26, 2016.

 

UL research shows how a closed door can keep smoke out of a bedroom longer as well as change the flow of heat and toxic gases, acting as a shield for someone trapped and unable to get out of a fire. NFPA stresses the importance of having a working smoke alarm inside each bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds they all sound. Read the full story and watch the videos of each of the UL tests for more information.

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During a four-hour span last Tuesday, a fire department in Georgia tackled three fires that had something in common: they all happened in people’s kitchens. Gwinnett County firefighters responded at 9:40 a.m. to a report of an apartment fire in Norcross. Crews found a small fire on the stove that was smoldering on arrival. Firefighters quickly put the fire out. The fire caused minor damage to the stovetop and a pot of grease that was left unattended.

 

At 10:52 a.m. firefighters responded to a report of a house fire in Buford. Crews found a small fire in the oven that was smoldering on arrival. The fire was contained to debris in the oven and was quickly put out by firefighters. The fire caused minor damage to the appliance and sent light smoke throughout the house. The fire appeared accidental and was sparked by debris ignited during preheating.

 

Just three hours later firefighters responded to a house fire in Lawrenceville. Crews found light smoke on arrival and a small fire in the kitchen. The fire appeared to be accidental and was sparked by food left unattended on the stove.

 

Needless to say, Gwinnett County fire officials are reminding the public to use safe cooking practices. “These types of incidents are an important reminder of the fact that proper cooking practices and kitchen fire safety are paramount,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.

 

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries.

 

Here’s what you need to know:

Holiday cooking 2
I received the monthly newsletter from my gym the other day and they had an interesting statistic that caught my eye. Did you know that around 75% of annual weight gain takes place during the holiday season? That’s a sobering thought!

The article went on to say that eating healthy during the holiday season (usually between Halloween and New Years' Day) can be challenging, especially when there’s lots of oh, so delicious dishes and cocktails to choose from.

This stat definitely got me thinking. Not just about weight again, of course, though I know we can’t help but think about it, right? No, it actually got me thinking about fire safety. If you can imagine how much food is cooked, baked, sautéed and fried during this time, well, that adds up to a lot of time in our kitchens. It also means we’re probably hosting parties and/or when visiting others, talking to the host while he/she is busy preparing food.

So this holiday season, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I just want to remind everyone to keep safety at the top of your list. The winter holiday season is the peak time for home cooking fires. It's really easy to get distracted this time of year and lose track of what you’re doing in the kitchen. Think you don’t? Liberty Mutual Insurance did a study in 2013 with over 1,000 people and here’s what they found:

  • Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent left the kitchen to use the computer to check email while food is cooking.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music.
  • A large majority (83 percent) acknowledged that they have engaged in dangerous cooking behaviors such as disabling the smoke alarm and leaving cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities - including watching television, talking or texting on the phone, checking email or doing laundry.
  • Looking at the general survey population, a startling one in 10 adults has actually left the home completely while cooking, and others left cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities.

But we can reduce these numbers, right? NFPA has lots of great tips and ideas you can implement right now as you start working on your holiday party menus (my colleague, Susan McKelvey, recently wrote a great blog that outlines these for you). Why not download and review them today before the holidays really kick in? By doing so, you’ll feel great knowing you’re taking a proactive role in reducing your fire risk and keeping yourself and your loved ones safer.

And let’s face it, even if you do gain a pound or two over the next few weeks, give yourself a pass. Spending time with loved ones and enjoying friends and family is what makes the holidays so special. And heck, you still have all winter to take it off. So enjoy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Find more great information about holiday cooking on NFPA’s cooking webpage.

 


“You have cancer.” Those are perhaps the most dreaded words a patient could hear. A cancer diagnosis can be tragic, and tragedy has been mounting among volunteer firefighters. New York State is home to more than 90,000 volunteer firefighters who sacrifice their time, safety and, too often, their health in service to their communities.


 

Firefighters are significantly more likely to develop many types of cancer than the general population largely due to the high levels of carcinogens and other toxins found in burning buildings and hazardous environments. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has produced “[Fighting Fires–Fighting Cancer: FASNY Members Share Their Stories | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV4dUoq330A].” The video features volunteer firefighters, including NFPA Education Section Director Brian McQueen, who’ve received a cancer diagnosis.


Volunteer firefighters diagnosed with cancer face escalating medical bills and the possibility of lost wages as they become sicker. There is no formal safety net currently in place to help those volunteer firefighters who need it most. This video is an example of one of the ways that FASNY seeks to see this change.


!http://i.zemanta.com/362710387_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/362710387_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Firefighters more likely to develop cancer than public at large, experts say in calling for volunteers' insurance

 

 NFPA has produced a library of American Sign Language videos; a smoking safety video is among them. Available on the smoking safety page of the NFPA website, the video includes a voice over and open captioning and provides safety tips for the precautions that should be taken by people who smoke, where to smoke safely, and how to properly dispose of cigarettes.

NFPA has also produced American Sign Language videos on the topics of heating, cooking, and electrical safety.

When most of us think about Thanksgiving, images of turkey, stuffing and time spent with loved ones typically come to mind, not fire hazards. However, an increased risk of fire is, in fact, a reality of Thanksgiving. Three times as many home cooking fires occurring on Thanksgiving as on a typical day.

Thanksgiving_hand_turkey

NFPA’s latest cooking estimates show that there were 1,550 cooking fires on Thanksgiving in 2013, reflecting a 230 percent increase over the daily average. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires. 

Here are NFPA’s top five tips for cooking safely this Thanksgiving:

  • Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from the cooking area. 
  • If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
  • Be alert when cooking. If you're sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

Check out our Thanksgiving fire safety tips and recommendations for safe cooking all year long.

 


 

 NFPA has produced a library of American Sign Language videos; an electrical safety video is among them. Available on the electrical safety page of the NFPA website, the video includes a voice over and open captioning, and provides an overview on the care that needs to be taken when using electricity, the proper way to plug in appliances, and what to do if fuses blow or circuit breakers trip. It can be a companion piece to the electrical safety toolkit, a resource for conducting a community electricity safety awareness campaign.


 

NFPA has also produced American Sign Language videos on the topics of heating, cooking, and smoking safety.


!http://i.zemanta.com/340768010_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/340768010_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Electrical safety takes center stage this month

USFA LogoThe U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association invite you to join the first webinar in the Fire is Everyone’s Fight™ webinar series.The webinar, “Building Engaging Presentations,” is set for Tuesday, November 17th at 2 p.m. EST. The hour-long webinar is free.

The webinar will teach four leading strategies to promote engaging presentations:

  • Outcomes
  • Clarity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Engagement

Karen Berard-Reed, Senior Project Manager of Public Education at NFPA will walk you through a proven strategy for delivering effective and engaging presentations. With more than 20 years of experience in the professional health education field, Karen has perfected the art of communicating with audiences of all types.

Join us for this free event and register today!

APPLICATION FOR 2016

Are you a fire and life safety educator who takes a lead role in making your community safer? Do you work for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office, use NFPA materials in a creative and consistent way, demonstrate excellence and innovation? If so, you’ll want to consider putting your name in nomination for the 2016 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. The winning educator will receive a $1,000 honorarium, travel to Las Vegas in June for an award presentation at the general session of the NFPA Conference and $1,000 donated to the educator’s local fire department to support public education activities.

Or, if you know of an educator who you feel should be considered for the award, you can put that person’s name in nomination. The deadline to submit the nomination form is February 12, 2016.

 

NFPA has produced a library of American Sign Language videos; a heating safety video is among them. Available on the heating safety page of the NFPA website, the video includes a voice over and open captioning, and provides tips for staying safe and warm while heating the home. The video is one of many tools that can be used to raise public awareness. It can be a companion piece to the heating safety toolkit, a resource for conducting a community heating safety awareness campaign.

NFPA has also produced American Sign Language videos on the topics of electrical, cooking, and smoking safety.

 

!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1716647970c-320wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1716647970c-320wi|alt=Fried Turkey|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Fried Turkey|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b8d1716647970c img-responsive!Because of online shopping opportunities, new deals for limited-time offers are vying for our attention multiple times a day, via email alerts and text messages. But we need to examine the “amazing” offers closely before clicking the “Buy!” button. I got an email this week for a door buster sale on a 29-quart turkey fryer with an 11-quart frying pan. The regular price was reduced by 34 percent. The product description stated that the fryer is powered by propane, weighs 19.5 pounds and has a deep-fry thermometer, and heat-resistant handle.


The marketing blurb said that for Thanksgiving, there’s no experience quite like deep-frying a turkey. But I say, there’s no experience quite like having to call the fire department in a panic if your house catches on fire, and your Thanksgiving guests are quickly heading for the exits.


 

NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. These turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures, and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process. The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns or other injuries and the destruction of property.


!http://i.zemanta.com/312395115_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/312395115_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Dangers of turkey fryers highlighted this holiday season

 



Mary MacCaffrie Entry

FPW Challenge Tanja Tanner

Dictionaries describe a challenge as a call or summons to engage in any contest of skill or strength, or a competition that requires determination to achieve. More than 90 participants entered the Fire Prevention Week Challenge with confidence, enthusiasm, and determination. The FPW Challenge was an opportunity for participants to share how they used NFPA materials during Fire Prevention Week and help reach more people with this year’s theme: “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm.”

To be entered into a random drawing to win a Fire Safety Sports Box, participants conducted an FPW activity, took a photo of the activity, and completed an application. Here is a list of the 2015 FPW Challenge Winners.

  • Charles Lavin, New Jersey Division of Fire Safety
  • Mary MacCaffrie, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office
  • Paul Labrecque, Biddeford (ME) Fire Department
  • Erin Wighton, Five Cities Fire (CA)
  • Tanja Tanner, Goodyear (AZ) Fire Department
  • Joe Simon, Shakopee (MN) Fire Department
  • Bethany Brunsell, St. Paul (MN) Fire Department
  • Kirk Trujillo, Rushville (NE) Volunteer Fire Department
  • Karla Richter, Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office
  • Carrie Goebnel, Freeport (MN) Volunteer Fire Department

Included above are photos from winners Mary MacCaffrie and Tanja Tanner.

Mary shared with us that New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan kicked off Fire Prevention Week with an event at a Concord fire house. He spoke about the importance of this year's theme and the history of FPW. Governor Maggie Hassan declared FPW in the state with a proclamation.

Tanja told us about the dinner that residents of Goodyear, Arizona, had with Fire Chief Paul Luizzi. She said it was a great time to learn about the importance of working smoke alarms and the proper location for smoke alarms in the home using FPW 2015 materials.

Congratulations to everyone who took the challenge and all of the winners!

 


 

 NFPA has produced a library of American Sign Language videos, including one on the topic of cooking safety. The video, available on the cooking safety page of the NFPA website, includes a voice over and open captioning, and provides a series of safety recommendations for preventing cooking fires and what to do if a fire does occur.


 

NFPA has also produced American Sign Language videos on the topics of electrical, heating, and smoking safety.


!http://i.zemanta.com/322135157_80_80.jpg|src=http://i.zemanta.com/322135157_80_80.jpg|alt=|style=margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 80px; display: block; max-width: 100%;!Hot off the press! Updated fire and life safety educational messages

Pines

by NFPA's Kelly Ransdell

Did you know that Maine and North Carolina have something in common?  Well, on a recent trip to Maine, I discovered that both states have plenty of pine trees. Kind of ironic since the climates are so different- but they are on the East Coast.  

At the 26th annual Pine Tree Burn Conference, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing fire safety educators that are especially gifted in outreach to troubled teens and specifically Youth Firesetting Intervention. In the crisp fall air of Maine, we all learned about the tools that you can use in your community.

As I did an overview of free NFPA online materials, I shared our Power Hour Lesson plan on the Fire Challenge. This one hour lesson is designed for parents and caregivers of teens and examines their complex thinking as well as age appropriate teaching strategies. This lesson was created in conjunction with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and was intended to stop the Facebook craze that erupted not long after the Ice Bucket Challenge started. This dangerous challenge was sending countless teens to burn centers and emergency rooms across the country.

The lesson plan includes an introduction, core messaging and then a conclusion to make presenting it to Parent and Teacher organizations, community groups, and faith based organizations as easy as getting a whoopie pie in Maine (PS they are everywhere including the airport, grocery stores, and restaurants.)

We also explored the many infographics that are easy ways to get the message out through social media. Our Halloween safety one is a great safety reminder to post this weekend to your Facebook or website as the ghouls and goblins are out. Thank you to the educators in Maine for your commitment to your communities and cheers from NC as we celebrate things we have in common! 

Halloween safety

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