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2016

Are you a fire and life safety educator who takes a lead role in making your community safer? Do you work for a Statue of Sparky the Fire Doglocal fire department or fire marshal’s office, use NFPA materials in a creative and consistent way, and demonstrate excellence and innovation? If so, you’ll want to consider putting your name in nomination for the 2017 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. The application deadline is February 10, 2017.

Or, if you know of someone you feel is deserving of this award you can nominate that person. The Educator of the Year receives a $1,000 honorarium, travel to Boston for an award presentation at the NFPA Conference and Expo, registration to attend the Conference, career-enhancing publicity, and the Sparky Award. The fire department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.

Everyone's favorite, Dan Doofus, stars in "Kitchen for Trouble" where he has to learn the hard way how to prevent cooking fires. Home cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires, and nearly 4 times as many cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving. That means, it is the perfect time of year to brush up on your safety tips - and what better way than to watch as Dan learns these lessons for us!

 

November Safety SourceThe November issue Safety Source, NFPA's public education newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find:

 

  • They’re becoming more and more common and they number in the millions–multigenerational households. Find out the benefits and safety concerns in NFPA’s new community toolkit.
  • It’s an issue that causes angst in homes on a periodic basis–how to dispose of the old smoke alarm. A new tip sheet takes away the worry with easy-to-follow do’s and don’ts.
  • Your Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without a key ingredient: a safety tip sheet that adds the right flavor to your holiday.
  • 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!

Lights around window, flameless candle, artificial poinsettia in dorm room.

 

It’s getting to be that time of year again – the holidays!  Many residence halls will be having decorating contests to see who can be the most creative or outlandish.  Most kids don’t think of the potential dangers posed by their holiday decorations. I have to admit that I never thought much about college dorm rooms or apartments, but as the parent of a college freshman, that has changed.  Even though my daughter is a commuter, many of her friends are in dorms or off-campus housing.  When I think of her staying over with her friends, I get a bit nervous (okay, terrified!). I ask that you share the following important tips with your students this holiday season from NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety.

  •       Candles – the best type of candles are battery operated.  There is no open flame to worry about, and their effect is just as pretty.  Be sure to turn them off when leaving or going to bed.

 

  •       Ornaments/Hanging Decorations  – don’t hang anything from the fire sprinklers or smoke alarms. Don’t use real garland or trees, they are potentially flammable.  Use only decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.  Do not block doors or windows, they could be escape routes in the event of an emergency.

 

  •       Lights – be sure to use strings of lights meant for inside if decorating inside your residence. Use strings of lights labeled for outdoor use when decorating outside. Read the packaging for the number of strands you can connect.   Check to make sure the cords are in good condition. Replace any string of lights with worn or damaged cords.  Don’t run cords of any kind under rugs, and unplug them all before leaving your residence or going to bed.

 

To help ensure a safe holiday season, please make sure your students are also aware of all smoke alarms and emergency escape plans, and exits.

Tip sheet with image of adult daughter and mother pulling turkey out of the oven. Another image showing turkey and all of the trimmings

Many of us are planning our menus and making shopping lists. It’s a good idea to review basic safety tips before the cooking begins. NFPA’s Thanksgiving Safety tip sheet reminds us of the importance of safety in the kitchen every day and especially on Thanksgiving.

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • Have activities for the kids that keep them out of the kitchen.        

Following these and other simple safety tips can keep family and friends safe for the holiday.

 

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A bulleted list about food truck safety with an illustration of a food truck with customers being waited on

Three people are hurt, two critically, after a food truck caught fire Wednesday afternoon on the campus of George Washington University.

According to NBC Washington 4, the food truck caught fire on the 2100 block of H Street NW, where several food trucks often park.

Three employees of the food truck were taken to hospitals with burns. A man and a woman suffered critical but non-life-threatening injuries, a D.C. fire department representative said. A second woman received less serious injuries.

The fire sent a plume of dark smoke into the sky west of downtown D.C. The blaze caused severe damage inside the food truck, which was a converted school bus.

Information on the cause of the fire was not available immediately.

The food truck safety page of the NFPA website, along with the Fire Safety for Mobile Cooking Operations Tip Sheet provide information on food trucks and safety.

 

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Years ago, before I came to NFPA, I had a co-worker who grew excited days before Thanksgiving regaling us with stories Fried turkey in an aluminum panabout the deep-fried turkey he would make. He’d tell us how moist and flavorful it would be and encouraged us to deep-fry ours too. I never bothered. It sounded like too much work and I always had plans to eat traditionally prepared turkey with all the trimmings at my parents’ house.

I had never seen a turkey fryer and didn’t know anything about the process of using a substantial amount of cooking oil at a high temperature. I didn’t know that the use of the fryers was dangerous and could lead to devastating burns, other injuries, and destruction of property.

NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil. NFPA has taken the position that these fryers are not suitable for safe use even by well-informed and careful consumers. NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to seek out professional establishments, such as grocery stores, specialty food retailers and restaurants or consider an “oil-less” turkey fryer.

One day I will try fried turkey. I look forward to its succulence and flavor. When this happens, I’ll be seated comfortably in a restaurant, because the task will be left to the chef.

 

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I have to admit, it feels like yesterday that we were sunning on the beach and enjoying the spoils of summer, but here we are a week and a half away from one of the biggest cooking (and eating!) events of the year!

 

There’s no doubt Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year for families and friends to get together. But because we spend so much time in the kitchen baking, roasting and sautéing our favorite foods, and usually amidst lots of activity and a house full of people, the risk for home cooking fires increases. According to NFPA’s latest report, home cooking fires peak on major U.S. holidays; Thanksgiving being the leading day for such fires. Did you know that almost four times the number of home cooking fires occurred on this holiday from 2010 – 2014?


“It’s often a combination of factors that contribute to an increased risk of home cooking fires on Thanksgiving,” says NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, Lorraine Carli. “People are preparing multiple dishes for many guests and there can be plenty of distraction in the home, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove,” she says. “That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur.”


No matter what kitchen we find ourselves helping out in this Thanksgiving, we can all reduce our risk for injuries and damage caused by fires by following a handful of important safety tips. The slide show below shows you how:

 

 

Share this slide show with friends and family, your colleagues and even your neighbors. Find additional tips and resources, including statistics, infographics, videos and more to share on NFPA’s Thanksgiving webpage and cooking fire safety page.

 

Looking for some fun activities you and your family can do during the holiday? Check out Sparky’s activity page for lots of ideas that the younger members of the group will really enjoy!

 

As we head into the holidays season, enjoy your time with the ones you love and always remember to keep fire safety at the top of your priority list!

Kidde is recalling millions of NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms sold in the United States and Kidde combo alarm being recalledCanada. According to Consumer Affairs, the alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it’s still working. This poses a risk to consumers of not being alerted to a fire or CO incident in their home.

The company has received reports of incidents with the recalled alarms, but no injuries have been reported. The recall involves Kidde NightHawk talking combo smoke/CO alarm, model number KN-COSM-IB and manufacture dates between June 1, 2004 and December 31, 2010.

The alarms are hard-wired and the unit has a compartment on the back for a replaceable 9-volt battery. Consumers may contact Kidde online or call 855-239-0490.

 

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Cover image of Learn Not to Burn Grade 2

NFPA has just added another grade level to its Learn Not to Burn® fire safety educational program for children. Learn Not to Burn Grade 2 is available on Sparky School House. The program presents six fire safety messages using classroom lessons and exercises and family fire safety activities that can be done at home. The program can be taught as a stand-alone fire safety unit or easily integrated in language arts core curriculum lessons. The fire department can be invited to the classroom throughout the program to support the fire safety messages taught. Learn Not to Burn is an easy-to-use guide for teachers to respond to the needs of the classroom.

 

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Members of St. Louis Fire Department standing on a porch, holding smoke alarms they will install in the home

The St. Louis Fire Department conducted its two-day semi-annual “smoke alarm blitz” this past weekend. Done in partnership with the Eastern Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross, the blitz featured the installation of 10-year battery ionization smoke alarms in residents’ homes.

 

During the blitz, the fire department also installed combination carbon monoxide/photoelectric alarms. In all, 1,400 alarms were installed. Teams conducted home safety planning, discussing basic fire safety tips with residents at more than 500 homes.

 

Departments interested in conducting their own smoke alarm installations and education programs can refer to the smoke alarm page of the NFPA website, which includes the smoke alarm safety tip sheet, an educational video, and the latest report on smoke alarms in U.S.

 

In addition, the smoke alarm installation and maintenance page of the website includes “Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program,” a comprehensive guide including everything needed to get started, from tips on how to select volunteers, to pointers on soliciting donations and publicizing your program.

 

 

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Linda Farrar is a certified dementia capable care trainer. She is a registered nurse and a licensed nursing home administrator in Kansas.  Linda earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Iowa. She began her career in long-term care at a retirement center in Wichita–first as a unit supervisor, then as director of nursing.  Later, she obtained her administrator’s license.  Since retirement, she has continued to provide nursing and administrative consulting services.

 

Here is her first blog post. 

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Photo of Linda Farrar wearing a blue blazer and white blouse and standing in front of a bookcase with books and knick knacksPresident Ronald Reagan declared the month of November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most well-known and common type of dementia, there are more than 200 different types. People living with dementia live in a state of crisis every day of their lives. They are lost. They often cannot tell you their name. They don't know where they are. They don't know the people around them. They don't recognize their surroundings. They are often in a state of terror. 

In emergency situations, people with dementia

  • are prone to hide or wander
  • are easily agitated
  • may forget directions
  • are especially sensitive to trauma

So how do we help them through an emergency?

  • We always approach in a calm manner.
  • Approach from the front at eye level and use their name.
  • Try to get within 14-16 inches of their face so you have their full focus.
  • Use calm, positive statements and a patient, low-pitched voice.
  • Avoid elaborate or detailed explanations. Follow brief explanations with reassurance.
  • Don't try to orient them to your reality. Remember, their perception is their reality.
  • Don’t argue with or try to correct them. Instead, support their experience, reassure and try to divert attention.
  • Talk and walk at the same time. Start moving and directing their movements while talking calmly to them and offering them a voice they can trust.
  • Do not leave the person alone, find someone who can stay with them to offer reassurance.

And thank you for your service...you are all heroes!

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the log in link above to log in or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

Carbon monoxide safety tip sheet. Photo of CO alarm and a list of tips

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Toronto General Hospital, and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority are marking Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week–November 1-7–with a tour of Ontario’s largest hospital-based hyperbaric unit.

The public will learn about the symptoms of CO poisoning, how it is treated, and what can be done to prevent it. Often called the invisible killer, CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of CO.

NFPA has a list of precautions on the CO page of the website and listed in the Carbon Monoxide Safety tip sheet.

 

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Sparky saved this item for last since he likes to think of himself as old (now that he is 65!) and faithful and it seemed fitting! He visited the Yellowstone National Park to watch the Old Faithful Geyser erupt! Old Faithful was discovered in 1870 making it a little bit (a lot bit) older than Sparky. This geyser erupts around 20 times a day, getting to heights between 100-180 feet. The water temperature can even measure at 204oF with a steam temperature measured at 350oF. Sparky is very excited that he has completed every item on his birthday bucket list, and is amazed at all the fun he has had this year along the way. Now, he is ready for a nap!     

 

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 wanted to accomplish between his birthday and the end of October. Now that he has checked them all off his list, look back at all of them through the photo album.

 

The Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue recently received a request from the USS Gerald Ford, which is currently docked at the Newport News Shipyard.  For the past two years, the Naval Command has conducted a “Winter Safety Stand Down” for its crew members and last year one of Hampton’s Fire & Life Safety Educators, Corey Johnson, had the honor of presenting to over 1,600 service members at the Hampton Convention Center.

 

This year the USS Gerald Ford’s Naval Commander wants to utilize the ships on-board video capabilities to disseminate winter safety messaging and Johnson knew just where to turn for resources. He turned to the NFPA for the “Dan the Doofus” Safety videos.  When Johnson reached out to his NFPA Regional Education Specialist he stated “I really think that the NFPA videos are well put together in that they are humorous, professional and straight to the point”.  Johnson will have quick and easy access to NFPA’s video resources and because of that, the ship’s crew will get important and timely safety messages through the Dan Doofus videos on; “Exit Strategy”, “Kitchen For Trouble”, “Home Heating Safety”, and “Yule Light Up My Life”!

 

Take a look at the rest of the Dan Doofus series and all the other safety videos located in the Video Library on the NFPA website!

Members of the Education Section Executive Board and the staff liaison, pose around the Sparky statue at NFPA headquarters lobby

NFPA provides eleven industry-specific member sections that members can join to maximize their participation in the association. The sections meet periodically so that members can exchange ideas, information, and resources to develop and conduct dynamic and effective fire safety programs and initiatives.

This week, the Education Section Executive Board is conducting its fall meeting at NFPA headquarters. The board is updating the section’s strategic plan, which has as its vision statement to provide a forum that will bring fire and life safety educators together with a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations to exchange information and provide opportunities for the development of its members.

One of the board’s major goals is expanding membership by attracting and maintaining a roster representative of all fire and life safety disciplines.

 

We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the log in link above to log in or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!

Sparky travels to the New England Aquarium and goes on a whale watch to check number 64 off of his birthday bucket list. The New England Aquarium whale watch sails across the Stellwagen Bank, where you’re able to see different types of whales. These whales could include, acrobatic humpback whales, finback whales, minke whales, as well as pilot whales and the critically endangered right whales. Whales are not the only marine life in the waters around Boston, lucky watchers might also see dolphins, and sea birds during their trip.

 

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 between his birthday and 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!

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