What do a funeral parlor, hunting lodge, veterinary clinic, and public library have in common? They all play a role in the public education efforts of the 2017 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Fire and Life Safety Education Division Chief Dolly Hulin of the Thomasville Fire Department in Thomasville, North Carolina, calls NFPA the “one-stop-shop” for all of her department’s education and prevention efforts. She is known for her extraordinary commitment to fire and burn prevention education. Her outreach efforts include Safety Fest, an event she created to raise awareness during Fire Prevention Week that is done in partnership with a local funeral home. More than 20 area agencies are invited and hundreds of residents attend. The funeral home and library parking lots serve as the venue.
In addition, Chief Hulin has visited veterinary offices in her community with NFPA’s Pet Safety tip sheet, which she suggested to NFPA, and provides NFPA cooking safety tip sheets in each grocery store bag containing a Thanksgiving turkey. Hulin also helps nearby communities to launch their own fire safety programs, and teaches hunter safety classes, in which she ensures that all participants know the importance of having smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in their cabins and campers. Each year, NFPA bestows the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year award on an educator who works for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada and uses NFPA's materials in consistent and creative ways. The recipient receives a $1,000 honorarium and is honored during a ceremony at NFPA Conference & Expo. The fire department receives $1,000 for use toward public education activities.