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2016

Portable grilling safety.JPGPlanning an overnight camping trip? Going for a picnic in the park or on the beach? Or maybe you're heading to a tailgating party over the next few weeks. No matter what outdoor event you organize, food is sure to play a major role in the festivities, right? But while gas grills come with their own set of safety guidelines and recommendations, hibachis and other small portable grills that require charcoal - and are often used away from the home - include a separate set of safety considerations.

 

The following are a handful of important tips you'll want to follow:

 

* Before you make plans to head to a campground or park, check if the area has any fire restrictions in place, and choose only those areas where fires are permitted.

* When lighting the grill, choose only lighter fluid intended for charcoal grills

* Have an adult present at all times when a campfire or grill is burning. Keep the fire small and never leave a fire unattended

* When you've finished cooking, empty coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect coals. Never empty coals directly into a trash can

 

Check out NFPA's new webpage to find these and other simple safety guidelines to follow when traveling and using your portable grill. NFPA is also proud to be a content contributor for Martha Stewart Living. Check out our latest post about portable grill fire safety on the Martha Stewart site and while you're at it, peruse the pages to find a number of wonderful, delicious recipes to make for family and friends.

 

Enjoy fun travels, everyone, and safe cooking this summer season!

#23 - Maple Museum.jpgSparky visited the new England Maple Museum, located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont. The Museum traces the history of maple sugaring through 200 years, beginning with Native Americans discovering how to cook sap into syrup. Sparky even got to taste some of the famous Vermont maple syrup!

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

Memorial Day is a few days away and we're all clamoring to get outside and start entertaining, right? To this end, I came across this great article in Forbes Magazine recently called, "The United States of Barbecue - America's Love Affair with Backyard Cooking" by Larry Olmsted, and wanted to share some of the highlights. According to a recent poll of "Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude," by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) of which the Forbes article takes its stats, 75% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker. The reason? There are three:

* To improve the flavor of the food you're cooking

* For personal enjoyment

* For entertaining family and friends

 

The poll also states that the majority of grill owners (63%) use their grill or smoker year-round, and 43% cook at least once a month through the winter. The five most popular days to barbecue? They would be (in order):

* July 4th

* Labor Day & Memorial Day (a tie)

* Father's Day

* Mother's Day

 

Then there's another statistic to consider. Nearly half (45%) of U.S. adults surveyed by HPBA plan to purchase a new grill or smoker this year! That's a lot of delicious meals made and consumed year round. It also means there are more chances for grilling fires if we're not careful. So no matter what day of the week you bring family and friends together for your best barbecue fare, consider how you'll ensure your safety and the safety of your guests.

 

AGrilling.JPGnd remember, the leading causes of  grill fires were a failure to clean and having the grill too close to something that could catch fire, according to NFPA's recent grilling report. So remember to inspect your grill (we have a great video that takes you through the process step by step for gas grills) and clean it well before using.

 

Read the full article to find more fun statistics about grilling. Then watch our fun video that addresses some of the questions we all have about our gas grills and grab NFPA's grill safety checklist to download and keep on your fridge. With some thought and simple action steps taken early, you'll enjoy grilling every day of the year! Enjoy!

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The Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner, Red River Mutual insurance agency, Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund, and the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs have teamed up to implement a smoke alarm installation program–Smoke Alarms for Every Family (S.A.F.E.  Family).

 

Since the program began last year, more than 2,000 smoke alarms have been installed. Fire department personnel–including Virden Fire Department Firefighter Ben McLean, pictured above–and volunteers across Manitoba are installing the smoke alarms. An installation program kit is available to all fire departments in the province. Items include smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries designed to remain effective for up to 10 years, general fire safety information, templates for a home escape plan, liability release forms, and installation survey forms.

 

The goal of Manitoba’s S.A.F.E. Family is to save lives by protecting every home with working smoke alarms and a practiced fire escape plan. In order to evaluate the program, data will be gathered and analyzed by the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Red River Mutual. Monitoring and evaluation will highlight areas of the program that need revision and indicate where additional efforts need focus. Plans are underway to double the amount of alarms installed to date.

#22 - Harley Davidson museum.jpgSparky visited the Harley Davidson Museum, situated near downtown Milwaukee. The museum features over 450 motorcycles and related artifacts, including Serial Number One, the oldest known Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. Outside the museum, you can see a public art piece called "The Hill Climber" that was given to the museum to mark its 2008 opening.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

Take a look around your home. How many devices do you have that require electricity? Cell phones and computers, televisions, lamps, kitchen appliances and the like, right? In short, we have A LOT of things in our home that need to be plugged in. For most of us, having electricity readily available is just part of our daily lives but today with the abundance of gadgets that have to be charged up, we need to consider fire safety and the important role electrical outlets play in our homes.

 

Electrical Safety Month.JPGAll through the month of May, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is promoting National Electrical Safety Month with tips, tools and resources to help raise awareness of electrical safety. This week we're highlighting ESFI's "Don't Overload Your Home!" infographic, which provides important tips you can follow to help lower the risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.

 

Not sure what to look for? Check for these warning signs:

* Crackling, sizzling or buzzing from receptacles

* Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses

* Flickering, blinking or dimming lights

 

Review the infographic and get additional information and tips from ESFI about how you can help prevent electrical overloads. You can also get great information on NFPA's electrical safety webpage including a short video you can watch and share with family and friends.

 

This month, make it a point to play it safe. Follow important guidelines to help ensure you reduce your risk for electrical fires.

Brian McQueen, a director on the NFPA Education Section, was featured last week in an article published

in USA TODAY about firefighter cancer cases. Federal legislation has been announced that would establish

a National Firefighter Cancer Registry and direct the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention to track the types of cancers contracted by volunteer and professional firefighters.

The article states that firefighters contract cancer 14 BrianMcQueen (2) headshot.jpgpercent more often than others

because of the toxins they’re exposed to on the job. Representative Richard Hanna, D-NY,

developed the idea for the registry. His inspiration came from McQueen, who in addition to

serving on the NFPA membership section, is past chief of the Whitesboro Volunteer Fire

Department. McQueen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December 2013. His physicians
linked his cancer to more than three decades as a volunteer firefighter. McQueen has

developed an educational program in central New York to alert others to the potential dangers. He said that

he is humbled that his experience has served as inspiration to the congressman.

safety source.JPGThe May issue Safety Source. NFPA's public education newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find:

  • NFPA's updated messaging around sleeping with a door closed
  • National Electrical Safety Month
  • Keeping grilling fire safety in mind this season
  • And more!

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!

#21 - National Fire Dog Monument.jpgSparky visited the National Fire Dog Monument in Washington, D.C. The monument was designed to honor arson dogs, also known as accelerant detection canines, who are trained to sniff out evidence that a fire was started intentionally. The statue, designed by a volunteer firefighter, moved to its permanent home in 2013.

 

Read previous NFPA coverage of the monument here.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

Exercise Behavior Card (2).jpg

May is Older Americans Month. As we celebrate this time set aside for honoring older Americans

and their contributions to communities and the nation, we can also celebrate trends in life

expectancy. Americans are living longer than ever before, according to data gathered by the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition,the National Institute on Aging

cites increased life expectancies in other parts of the world.

 

One way to celebrate older American is with NFPA’s Remembering When™ program. Developed

by NFPA and the CDC, the fire and fall prevention program is designed to help older adults live

safely at home for as long as possible. NFPA will select teams from up to 25 communities to attend
the 2016 Remembering When Scholarship Conference in San Antonio, Texas, November 14-16, 2016.

Participants will receive training to reach older adults through group presentations and home visits.

 

The application period will open on Monday, June 20th and close at noon on Monday, August 15th.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis.

Casper Blog Photo from Install Event.jpg

Coalition building is the centerpiece of a successful combination smoke alarm/older adult
fire and fall prevention program in Casper, Wyoming. The National Senior Fall and Fire

Prevention Coalition includes Casper Fire-EMS, Reveille Rotary, AARP, Casper-Natrona

Health Department, Blue Envelope Health Fund, and Casper Senior Network.

 

During 2015, the coalition met the goal of installing smoke alarms in 100 homes on a Saturday
coinciding with Daylight Saving Time and began building an inventory to provide older adults

with smoke alarms as needed. Firefighters Thomas Rohrbach and Andrew Burgess are pictured

above during an installation at the home of an older adult.

 

The coalition began to form when Casper Fire-EMS Captain Justin Smith and RN-Transition
Coordinator for Shepherd of the Valley Healthcare Community, Jill Hult, participated in the NFPA

Remembering When training in 2014. After returning from the fire and fall prevention training for

older adults, the team met with Reveille Rotary and collected the names of older adults at the local

senior center who needed alarms.

 

Students from Casper College Fire Science Program were recruited to team up with Rotarians

to install smoke alarms with nonreplaceable, long-life batteries designed to remain  effective for

up to 10 years. The engine company from each of the Casper fire stations also participated in

installations. Blue Envelope Health Fund–one of the initiative’s largest funders–and  Rotary and

have given generous donations.

 

The coalition has identified other items to aid in preventing falls and fires: smoke alarms for people

with hearing disabilities, night lights, and long-life light bulbs. In addition to the smoke alarm installations,

a number of small group public education events continue to be offered by the coalition.

 

Guidelines for conducting your own community smoke alarm installation can be found in

NFPA's smoke alarm installation guide.

#20 - Air Force B-1B Lancer (002).jpgSparky checked off yet another item from his bucket list when he hitched a ride on a B-1B Lancer, a US Air Force bomber, at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The base has been in use since it was built in 1942. The B-1B is a supersonic vehicle, meaning it can travel faster than the speed of sound!

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

A carbon monoxide (CO) alarm alerted two Madison, Wisconsin, residents to a potentially
life-threatening situation earlier this week.

 

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, firefighters found out the couple had used two
charcoal grills a few hours earlier and put the grills in their garage, under the apartment.

“The couple called 911 after their alarm went off twice, but then fell silent,” said
Madison Fire Department spokesperson Cynthia Schuster.

 

Firefighters put on breathing apparatus to enter the garage where they found high CO levels
and one charcoal grill still smoldering.CO kit cover (2).jpg

CO is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is often called “the invisible killer,” and
is created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas,
propane, methane, or wood, do not burn completely.

 

Fire officials say that firefighters opened the garage door and brought the grills
out. Once the CO reading fell to zero, the residents were allowed back into their
apartment.

 

NFPA’s community toolkit on CO alarms, co-produced with the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, provides everything needed to motivate residents to install and
maintain CO alarms. In addition, the carbon monoxide safety page includes
safety tips and reports about the dangers of CO and preventative measures.

Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years - that was the key message behind a news story that aired yesterday on KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh's CBS news affiliate. It also happens to be the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Don't Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years", October 9-15.

 

While smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a home fire, they need to be working properly, and that means replacing them every 10 years. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, check the date on the back of the alarm. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

 

Kudos to KDKA-TV for covering this important message in a compelling, accurate manner. We encourage fire departments planning to promote Fire Prevention Week in their communities to consider this news story as a great example of how local news outlets can cover this year's theme. Our Fire Prevention Week website offers a wealth of related resources and information - make sure to check them out!

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, home chefs everywhere are reaching for their grills, eager to usher in the long-awaited barbecue season (admit it, I know you're one of them!). To that end, NFPA recommends that grillers pay particular attention to safety this spring and summer when home fires involving grilling incidents occur most often. These days, we know that people grill throughout the year of course, but maybe you didn't realize that July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by May, June and August? It's true! So we need to stay mindful and focused on our grills when we're cooking, especially when entertaining with friends and family as all that activity around us can be distracting.

 

According to NFPA's latest "Home Grill Fires" report, failing to properly clean the grill before use is a big contributing factor to a fire. So before you roll out the grill for the first time this season and start piling on the steaks and veg, take a good look at it. Has the grill been stored away all winter? Lift the hood, inspect the grates and hose connections. Not sure what to look for? See a problem but you're not sure what to do about it? Our short video and step-by-step process from NFPA expert, Guy Colonna, will walk you through the process.

 

 

On average, between 2009 - 2013, 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis or barbecues each year. So it's important to always pay attention to your cooking. With any luck, our spring and summer season will last a good long time! And that will surely mean more meals being cooked over an open flame. Take the time now to review safety tips. Go to our grilling fire safety webpage and download (for free!) our tips sheet; tack it to the fridge. Go back to it every now and again to remind yourself of what to do. And don't forget to share what you learn with friends and family. Love social media? Share our specially made posts for whatever platform you use most. You'll find them on our webpage, too!

 

So get grilling, everyone! Enjoy the summer months the NFPA way and stay (fire) safe this season! Happy summer!

At home or at work, all of us at one time or another have used extension cords to power up a lamp or TV, computers, our electronics and other gadgets. But did you know that if you use these cords the wrong way, you could start a fire? Yes, in fact, roughly 3,000 home fires start in extension cords each year, so it's important to keep safety in mind when using them.

 

Electrical Safety.JPG

All through the month of May, Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is promoting National Electrical Safety Month with tips, tools and resources to help raise awareness of electrical safety. This week we're highlighting ESFI's extension cord safety infographic, which provides important steps you can take to help you and your family reduce the risk for damage or injury when using extension cords throughout your house. Download it for free and share with family and friends.

 

Think you've got safety under control? Take a look at an extension cord you may have in your living room, kitchen or bedroom. If it looks like a spider web with multiple cords protruding out of it, It means you have too few outlets in the room for your needs. Solution? You'll want to consult a licensed electrician and consider having additional outlets installed in the room and throughout the house.

 

This is just one of the many safety tips you can get from ESFI. Review the infographic to get more resources that will point you in the right direction. You can also get great information on NFPA's electrical safety webpage including a downloadable tips sheet and video.

Sparky Birthday Surprise at Meadowridge.JPG

Maple Ridge Fire Department in British Columbia, paid a
visit recently to Meadowridge School. In addition to learning about firefighters’
protective gear, the kindergartners enjoyed a viewing of Sparky’s Birthday
Surprise, a free app on Sparky School House that includes games, activities,
coloring pages and a sing-along. The teacher and students had an enjoyable
time. The students created a learning story to go along with photos taken
during the fire department visit.

Should you sleep with your bedroom door opened or closed? It’s a straightforward question, but the answer isn’t quite so clear-cut. Many variables, including
where people sleep in their homes and the location of their smoke alarms, make it challenging to craft a one-size-fits-all answer.

In an effort to reflect the latest information, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC)
recently modified its messaging around sleeping with a door closed. Comprised of national, state, and local fire and life safety experts, EMAC meets periodically to review NFPA’s fire safety education messages and provide recommendations for revising them in accordance with NFPA’s codes, standards and related criteria, where applicable.

The updated message for sleeping with the door closed states, “A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected.” Previous messaging stated that if you sleep with the bedroom door closed, to
install smoke alarms inside and outside the bedroom, and for the best protection, to make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected.

“NFPA and others have long acknowledged that closing a door can impact the spread of fire, but the primary message has been and continues to be to make sure you
have working smoke alarms in your home, giving you early warning of a fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy.

According to Carli, new research shows that fires burn faster today as a result of the way newer homes are built and the contents in homes. This led the committee to
re-examine messaging around sleeping with doors closed.

The committee recommended additional research to look at other factors, such as whether or not a closed door could delay the early warning from a smoke alarm
outside the sleeping room, and how a closed door will impact the rate of fatalities when the fire begins in the room where the door is closed.

#19 - Yosemite.jpgSparky got to visit Yosemite National Park, one of the country’s most popular national parks. The park has been protected by the federal government since 1864, when then-president Abraham Lincoln signed a bill, called the Yosemite Grant, to protect the area. The early campaign to preserve Yosemite’s unaltered nature was central to the idea of creating a national parks system; Yosemite officially became a national park with the founding of the National Park Service in 1916. Today, the park’s relatively untouched wilderness and remarkable biodiversity draw millions of visitors each year. Many of them flock to see Yosemite’s distinctive granite cliffs and groves of ancient sequoia trees.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

The explosion of a food truck caused the loud "boom" heard across LaGrange, New York, Tuesday. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the truck parked outside a home exploded in the early morning hours. LaGrange Fire District Deputy Chief Barry Ward said there is a "high degree of certainty" that the explosion was caused by a propane gas leak within the truck and it was accidental.

Multiple calls from neighboring homes reported a boom that rang across LaGrange for miles. The Dutchess County Sheriff's Department reported that a food prep trailer exploded, partially damaging the house where it was parked. The three occupants left the house without injuries.

There was a gas leak from one of the Food Truck Tip Sheet Image.JPGtrailer's two 100-pound propane tanks, Ward said. Firefighters controlled the leak by shutting off the tank and used meters to check for explosive gas in the
house, as well as thermal imaging cameras to see if there were any potential hidden fires or potential gas vapors in the structure.

Food trucks have been gaining popularity in recent years, and to date. NFPA 58: Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code covers the topics of design, construction, installation, and operation of LP-Gas systems including piping, equipment, containers, venting, and highway transportation of LP-Gas. Propane containers and piping installed on vehicles for purposes other than engine fuel, including mobile kitchens, are covered in section 6.24 of the 2014 edition.

NFPA's Fire Safety Tips for Mobile Cooking Operations provides a number of fire prevention tips.

 

Last week State Farm in conjunction with Recycled Rides gave New Bern Fire Marshal Danny Hill and his arson dog Darby a new truck so arson dog.jpgthey could ride in style but also have a truck to maneuver all types of terrain while investigating fires in the eastern part of NC.  Arson Awareness Week in conjunction with the US Fire Administration was highlighted in NC with a press event that featured an arson dog demonstrating how she detects flammable liquids at fire scenes which saves fire investigators hours when arson is arson sign.jpgsuspected.  Over 90 teams help fight arson in communities across the US.  NFPA worked with the urban task force to create an Arson Awareness PowerPoint for local communities to use with community groups. This presentation is a great addition to your toolkit to help keep your community safe.    Thanks to State Farm for working with fire officials across the US to combat arson and equip fire departments with Arson Dogs.  #statefarmcares

#18 - St Louis Arch.jpgSparky checked another item off his list when he visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Originally built to memorialize St. Louis' role in the United States' westward expansion, the arch stands at 630 feet tall and weighs 43,220 pounds! It’s also designed to sway as much at 18 inches to resist earthquakes, although most of the time the arch is stationary. From the arch, visitors can see both Missouri and Illinois, as well as the Mississippi River flowing directly past it.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

A 17-year-old from New York State was hospitalized last week when the e-cigarette he was puffing on exploded, burning his face, throat and hands.

 

According to NBC Charlotte, Ryan Scholand has a hole in the back of his throat, deep cuts on his
hands and scars on his upper lip. He said he had just replaced the battery in the e-cigarette–a cigarette-shaped battery-operated device containing a
nicotine-based liquid that is vaporized and inhaled and is used to give an experience similar to smoking. Scholand says that when he pressed the ignition button to fire up the e-cigarette and release the vapor, it exploded in his hand.

 

He said the battery base shot out like a projectile onto the floor while the aluminum upper-part of the frame shot into his throat.

 

"I immediately Smoking tip sheet.JPGfelt a really hot sense of smoke going down my throat. I immediately thought
something was wrong with my throat, like something was in it," he said. "I saw the burst and explosion take place, and I just threw the e-cig on the ground as it was still on fire." He said he believes the explosion was
caused by a short circuit from a faulty battery.

 

E-cigarettes should be used with extreme caution. NFPA’s recently released report, Electronic Cigarette Explosions and Fires:The 2015 Experience states that of the 15 e-cigarette incidents reported to
the media in 2015, 13 were described as explosions and two as ignitions. NFPA’s
Smoking and Home fire Safety tip sheet includes e-cigarette precautions.

A fire Sunday night in Boston’s North End was caused by a hoverboard, officials say.

According to The Boston Globe, the fire broke out in a third floor apartment and was extinguished quickly. However, up to 10 people were displaced and damages are estimated at $100,000.Hover Board Tips Sheet.JPG

It is believed to be the city’s first fire caused by a hoverboard.

Witnesses in the apartment told investigators they heard a pop and found the hoverboard on fire in a bedroom.

Hoverboards, which are self-balancing scooters, were a popular purchase during the holiday season, but have recently come under scrutiny after a number of incidents in which they reportedly caught fire or even exploded.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said hoverboards pose “an unreasonable risk of fire to consumers.” NFPA urges that those who choose to use hoverboards adhere to safety measures.The Hoverboard Safety tip sheet provides a list of precautions and ways to identify signs of problems.

Sparky spent a day with his good friend Smokey, the mascot for the Forest Service and a widely recognized face of wildfire prevention. The two of them got to attend a birthday party for Sparky hosted by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Bureau of Forest Fire Control, complete with birthday cake!#17 - Smokey Bear (002).jpg

 

On Saturday, May 7, Sparky and Smokey will both be out doing work to protect their communities from wildfire, as part of National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Anyone who wants to join them can visit our website to learn how to create a project using our project idea list or find a project already going on to participate in.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

NESM.jpgElectricity plays a major role in our daily lives but we can often take its power and the convenience it provides, along with its potential for fire-related hazards, for granted. That is why we actively support National Electrical Safety Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which works to raise awareness of potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety during the month of May.

According to our most recent statistics, an estimated average of nearly 48,000 home structure fires caused by electrical problems were reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires resulted in 455 civilian deaths, more than 1,500 civilian injuries and $1.5 billion in property damage. Roughly half of these involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment such as wiring, lighting, and cords or plugs.

Fortunately, there are many simple steps people can take to greatly reduce their risk. ESFI and NFPA urge homeowners to have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician and to follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a wall outlet. The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:

  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a wall outlet at a time. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Install tamper-resistant electrical outlets if you have young children. If a replacement is not possible, install new protective outlet covers that don’t allow children to insert an object into the wall outlet.
  • Avoid putting cords in places such as under rugs and carpets or across doorways where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
  • Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home by a qualified electrician.
  • Check electrical cords often. Replace any that are cracked, damaged or loose.

For additional tips and resources including infographics, fact sheets, and videos about electrical fire safety, check out ESFI’s Electrical Safety Illustrated publication and visit NFPA’s Electrical Safety in the Home webpage.

sparkyNewOrleans.jpgSparky visited New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the country. While the current cathedral was built in 1783, residents of New Orleans have worshiped at that site since 1718. Since that time, the cathedral has become one of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter District’s most significant landmarks.

 

Sparky turned 65 on March 18, 2016, and we have been pulling out all the stops to help him celebrate! He’s created a bucket list of 65 activities and events he’d like to accomplish from now through October. As he checks them off his list, we’ll make sure to share them with you. Some of Sparky’s wishes are pretty lofty, while others are just fun or a bit silly. Check in weekly to see where he goes and what he’s up to!

NFPA has officially announced “Don’t Wait: Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, 2016. The focus on smoke alarm replacement comes as the result of a recent survey conducted by NFPA, which showed that many people don't know how old their smoke alarms are or how often they need to be replaced.

 

NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes likely have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk in the event of a home fire.

 

“Smoke alarms play an essential role in home fire safety, but they have to be working properly in order to protect people,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy division. “This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign represents the final year of a three-year effort to better educate the public about the importance of smoke alarms, and what it takes to make sure they’re in working order.”

NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years.

kitty1.jpgOn April 12th, my husband and I celebrated our cat, Savannah’s, second birthday. As we marked the occasion, we reflected on how fast she grew from kitten to full-sized cat. Little did we know that only a few weeks after we stored away the box of birthday kibbles, we’d have another reason to celebrate our frisky, feline family member. May is National Pet Month, which is devoted to promoting the benefits of pet ownership, to support pet adoption, and the role, value and contribution to society of working companion animals.

 

As we celebrate our pets, let’s take time out to think about safety. Pets give us comfort, friendship, and unconditional love. Our connection to them can be among the strongest relationships in our lives, but pets can cause fires. Pets and wild animals have a part in starting about 700 home fires per year. Roughly three-quarters of these fires were started by cooking equipment, fireplaces or chimneys, lighting, or candles. NFPA’s Pet Fire Safety tip sheet provides information on care that should be taken with pets in our homes.

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  • Keep pets away from candles, lamps, and space heaters.
  • Consider battery-operated, flameless candles. They look and smell like real candles.
  • Some pets are chewers. Watch pets to make sure they don’t chew through electrical cords. Have any problems checked by a professional.

 

The tip sheet also includes information on pets and wildfires. Pets should be included in a family’s wildfire evacuation plan.

 

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