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2017

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

  • Recent news accounts of carbon monoxide poisonings are chilling. Learn of the warning signs and precautions you can take.
  • They’re used by athletes to recover from training injuries and patients as part of their medical treatment. But hyperbaric chambers are raising concerns about potential fire hazards.
  • It’s time to get moving this winter season with a little help from Sparky and his friends.

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A picture of a wall socket and a person plugging something in.

The best way to keep our homes safe from electrical hazards is to take good care of appliances and to use all electrical equipment properly. Respect for electricity and the power it provides must occur every day throughout the year.

As part of our Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign, NFPA is highlighting the importance of being safe from electrical fire. Thousands of fires in the home annually involve some type of electrical failure or malfunction.

NFPA’s electrical safety tip sheet provides a list of precautions regarding electricity and highlights problems requiring the attention of a qualified electrician.

Barn and silo on a farm fieldNFPA is hosting a fire and life safety symposium on May 12-13 in the Boston area to bring together representatives from rural fire departments across North America. The symposium will help NFPA assess fire and life safety education needs and gain a clear picture of rural fire department challenges related to prevention. Participants will help us better serve rural and volunteer fire departments in their public education, prevention, and Community Risk Reduction efforts.

Symposium attendees will be members of rural fire departments within North America and should have an interest in fire and life safety education. We hope to bring together a dynamic group of representatives who span fire department roles, geographical regions, and experience in education and prevention.

If you are interested in attending the symposium, please complete this online survey. Your input on this survey will help us invite the right mix of rural firefighters. The survey will be open through March 15, 2017. Invitations will be extended to selected participants by March 20, 2017. NFPA will cover expenses related to travel, lodging, and meals during the symposium.

For more information about the Rural Fire and Life Safety Symposium, contact Karen Berard-Reed at +1 617 984-7286.            

Flipping a light switch. Hitting the button on a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop computer. Plugging in that portable space heater (now that we're in the thick of winter)! These daily activities are second nature for most of us. Electricity sure makes the world go round but used in the wrong way, it can also be very dangerous.


As part of our Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign, NFPA is keen on highlighting the importance of electrical fire safety. According to statistics, there are thousands of electrical fires each year and in case you didn't know, they’re one of the leading causes of home fires in the U.S. So what can we all do to keep ourselves and our homes safer?


We invite you to watch one of NFPA's most popular videos, “A Shocking Revelation,” that features our beloved character, Dan Doofus. Follow along as Dan learns from his mistakes and forges a new path for safer electrical practices in his home. And he invites you to do the same!

 


Learn more about the Put a Freeze campaign and how to prevent electrical fires at www.nfpa.org/winter. Additional resources including checklists, tip sheets and more can be found on NFPA’s electrical fire safety webpage.

Three children and two adults were rushed to the hospital on Wednesday following a carbon monoxide leak in their Smithfield, Rhode Island, home. According to news reports, firefighters found two of the children and the mother unconscious as a result of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. Smithfield Fire Chief Robert Seltzer indicated that a malfunction in the heating system appeared to be the cause of the leak. It was also reported that were no working carbon monoxide alarms in the home.

 

In Weymouth, Massachusetts, an off-duty firefighter saved an elderly couple from carbon monoxide poisoning last month after seeing heavy-black smoke coming from their chimney. Firefighters were called to the scene and discovered dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the house. The leak was caused by a malfunctioning oil burner. It was also noted by the firefighter who noticed the smoke that there were no working smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms in the house.

 

These incidents serve as unfortunate reminders that the winter months present a number of challenges to home safety, including increased use of heating equipment and the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. These and other winter fire risks are addressed in our joint Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration, which provides a wealth of resources for reducing the risk of home heating fires and related hazards this season.

 

Carbon monoxide is created when fuel from heating or cooking equipment (typically gas, propane, or oil) doesn’t burn properly. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless, and colorless, and can be deadly. That’s why it’s so important have your home heating systems inspected and cleaned, if needed, before the start of the heating season to ensure that they’re working properly. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where needed.

 

This past week, there were two unfortunate events on college campuses that have reminded us of the importance of campus fire safety. The first incident left 100 students displaced in an apartment fire in Pennsylvania, and the other sadly resulted in a student’s death at Reed College in Oregon.

 

NFPA encourages parents, college safety and fire officials to remind students of some basic steps they can take to ensure their safety when living off campus. In case of a fire emergency, it is crucial to have two ways out of a room. Fires can be unpredictable, so every student needs a backup plan in case their first route of escape is blocked. Having two viable exits is a great start, but it is equally important to develop and practice an evacuation plan. Then, if an emergency situation were to occur, students would be prepared to act and feel comfortable with the plan. Finally, we need to ensure that there are working smoke alarms  in each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level of the house to warn students and give them as much time as possible to exit the building in case of a fire.  

 

For more information, checklists, tip sheets and other resources, visit NFPA’s campus fire safety webpage.

At a family birthday party, two friends that are also firefighters were faced with a carbon monoxide scare.  On Tuesday, Ricky Leonard and Lonnie Wimmer were recognized for trusting their gut and calling 911 when they suspected that carbon monoxide was making everyone sick.  Kidde, State Farm Insurance, NC Department of Insurance- Office of State Fire Marshal , and NFPA presented awards and carbon monoxide alarms to these Hometown Heroes. In a media event held at Lewisville Fire Department, we all thanked them for their quick action that lead to over 30 people being treated for medical issues but no fatalities.  Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely.

Lonnie Wimmer and Ricky Lewis receive NFPA Certificate of Commendation

In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.  During the winter months it is very important to know the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.  Take time to make sure you are safe in your homes and community by evaluating your risks.

Karla Klas, BSN, RN, CCRP, manages the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center's nationally acclaimed Head and shoulders photo of Karla Klascommunity and family-centered injury prevention programs. Her 24-year career spans critical care burn/trauma nursing, research, public education, professional development training, and injury prevention. She has produced numerous textbook chapters, medical journal articles, and has received several grant awards. She has been appointed to leadership roles on committees devoted to injury control, including chair of the American Burn Association’s Burn Prevention Committee. An award-winning educator, speaker, and author, Karla, in her spare time, volunteers in burn survivor support programs, mentors at-risk youth, and writes children’s books.

 

National Burn Awareness Week is February 5 – 11, 2017

 

Our country recognizes the first full week in February as National Burn Awareness Week. It is an opportunity for burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in their communities. Most fire-related injuries are burns. In fact, according to the American Burn Association, each year more than 486,000 individuals receive medical treatment for burns in the United States and Canada. Every minute, someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment. The alarming frequency of burn injuries and their potential for having a life-long impact, means that burn injury is a fire and life safety (FLS) topic that we should all be focused on. So use National Burn Awareness Week as the perfect opportunity to connect with your communities, engage with your colleagues, and promote your department’s FLS activities.

 

Not sure where to start or what exactly to do to highlight National Burn Awareness Week? Here are a few ideas to get started:

-Check out the newly revamped National Burn Awareness Week materials created by our fellow burn and fire service colleagues. While this year’s theme is broad (i.e., all mechanisms of burn injury or “The MOB”), consider targeting your outreach efforts around the most frequently occurring type in your local population.

 

  • Do an educational outreach presentation on burn injuries and prevention in a school, senior center, civic group meeting, place of worship, or other location where folks in your local community gather.
  • Start an Online Challenge (a positive one!): Challenge the youth, older adults, or families in your community to come up with potential creative solutions to prevent burn injuries in their peers.

 

Here are even more community activity ideas for 2017 Burn Awareness Week.

 

The possibilities are endless for how to make National Burn Awareness Week impactful. NFPA’s Burn Awareness web page provides a number of tools. Please share your creative ideas with us. It is with our united voices and active partnerships that we can successfully increase burn awareness, provide safety education, encourage injury prevention practices, and reduce the number of life-changing injuries.  Now, go forth and do great work with your National Burn Awareness Week programs.

NFPA Convention logo

One fire and life safety educator will be honored at NFPA Conference in June with the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 10th.

NFPA is looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States and Canada to apply who have these qualifications:

Work for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office.

Use NFPA educational programs and materials in a consistent and creative way.

Demonstrate excellence and innovation, reaching out to the community with NFPA materials.

Applicants can be nominated or self-nominated. Recipients of a state or provincial educator award during 2016 from a fire department association, community organization, or government entity will be considered.

The Educator of the Year receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel to NFPA Conference in Boston in June for an award presentation.

The local fire department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.

 

Over 250 fire service members recently attended the Michigan Fire Inspectors Society's Winter Conference.  Thankfully, this year, the weather was cooperative, but I was still astounded at the attendance level for a January conference in Michigan.  It speaks to the passion and commitment of, not only those who plan this conference, but also to those who attend.  Among the line-up, over the 2-day conference, was an overview of NFPA's public education materials that offered over an hour of updates on what's new in resources including the brand new look of sparky.org.  

 

Perhaps the only thing missing, or should I say, only person missing, was past president Kevin Abasse.  Kevin was a warm and familiar face, and no stranger to the Kellogg Center, where the conference has been held for many years. Last week I learned of his very recent battle with cancer.  Sadly, I just learned of his passing.

 

Our work to prevent loss of life seems that much more important when we lose one of our own too soon.  Please think of Kevin's family and his friends at the Michigan Fire Inspector's Society as you carry on respectively in the important work that we do.

 

Pictured below:  2011 MFIS President Kevin Abasse and Meredith Hawes presenting the Educator of Year Award to Jodi Scott.

The woods after a snowfall

Snowy image followed by bulleted safety tipsMany of us are aware of the hazards of a winter storm–power outages, dangerous driving and walking conditions, downed trees and power lines. But let’s not forget about the dangers of fire. There are more fires in winter than in any other season. Half of all home heating fires happen in December, January, and February. The new Fire Safety during Winter Storms tip sheet lists safety reminders on smoke alarms, portable generators, heating, and other topics designed to help keep individuals and families safe during the winter months and establish safe practices throughout the year.

Remembering When Logo-multicolored logo with the words Remembering When in the middleIt’s not too early to begin planning for the 2017 Remembering When™ Scholarship Conference. Scheduled for November 1-3, the conference will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel.

 

NFPA will select teams from up to 25 communities. Participants will receive free training through group presentations and home visits to help older adults live safely at home. Teams comprising a fire and life safety educator, a community partner who works with older adults, and one optional additional team member will leave the conference ready to implement Remembering When, the NFPA fire and falls prevention program.

NFPA is looking to train 2- or 3-person teams that are excited to help older adults reduce injuries from fires and falls, committed to building a community outreach program, and enthusiastic about strengthening partnerships to support older adults.

Each Remembering When scholarship is valued at more than $4,000 and includes transportation, lodging, food, and ongoing support for program implementation.

The application will be posted on the NFPA website in the spring.

This Sunday will be a day full of cheering, groans and a plenty of excitement all around. It's also a day that will be filled with food and tons of it! If you're like most folks across the country right now, even if you're not cheering for the Pats or the Falcons, Super Bowl LI will still be a day for parties, the guest list and the ever-so-important menu for game day.


Did you know that Super Bowl Sunday ranks as one of the busiest days for food consumption of the year? From chili and burgers to spicy wings, decadent desserts and fancy cocktails, Super Bowl Sunday brings out the foodie in everyone. But with all of this food prep comes an increased risk for a fire safety "fumble" at home.

 

NFPA reminds everyone to keep these basic cooking fire safety tips in mind when preparing for the big game:
• Keep an eye on what you fry
• Be alert when cooking
• Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area

 

These and other tips can be found on NFPA's cooking fire safety central webpage, including our cooking fire safety tips sheet that you can download and keep in the kitchen for easy reference. Also check out NFPA and USFA's "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires" campaign webpage where you can find these tips and more that touch on fire safety at home this winter.

Remember, take just a few minutes to practice fire safety, especially in the kitchen, and it will go a long way to making your home a safer place. Enjoy the game everyone!

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