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If you’re looking to weave fire safety into your holiday celebrations, consider “Sparky, Our Favorite Fire Dog”! Sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the song was created by Marty Ahrens, NFPA's senior manager of data and analytics. She sang the jingle earlier this week with her fellow NFPA “Fire Choir” members - a group of NFPA staff that performs holiday songs at our Quincy headquarters each year.


Here are the lyrics for your holiday singing pleasure:


Sparky, our favorite fire dog

Has a cold and wet black nose.
To keep us safe from fire
We should learn the things he knows.


Smoke alarms in the bedroom
Wake you up if there’s a fire.
Without that early warning,
Consequences could be dire.


“Have to have an escape plan.”
Sparky went on to say,
“Two ways out of every room
Can prevent a terrible doom.”


Put his words into practice.
Find a meeting place by a tree.
With Sparky, our favorite fire dog,
We make fire history!

Project Holiday Banner. Light blue banner with Christmas Ornament and snowflakes

Fire officials say a Northwest Fresno woman woke up in the early morning hours recently to find her house on fire. She was unable to call 911 and had to run to a neighbor’s house to call. According to news reports, all four people in the home were able to escape. Firefighters say the homeowner was burning a candle which sparked the blaze. The people in the home attempted to put the fire out themselves but were unable to.

Candle fires are more common during the winter holidays. They peak in December. January ranks second. The top four days four candle fires in the home are New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas Eve. More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle. Examples include furniture, mattresses, bedding, and curtains.

Project Holiday, NFPA’s annual campaign to educate the public on potential fire risks during the holiday includes candle safety tips, along with tips on Christmas tree, holiday decorating, and cooking safety. In addition, the campaign includes timely videos, safety-related activity sheets for children, statistics, fact sheets, and reports.

Cover image of Educational Messages Desk Reference. A word graphic with the titles of topics in the documentThe deadline for submitting comments for revisions to the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference is Friday, February 9, 2018. The electronic submission form is for individuals who want to provide substantiated comments on the current message document. The messages contained in the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference are used throughout NFPA’s educational programs, curricula, and handouts and provide fire and life safety educators with accurate and consistent language for use when providing safety information to the public. The Educational Messages Advisory Committee, a group of fire and life safety experts, will be meeting next spring to update and revise the messages.

Shriners Hospitals for Children has teamed up with the fire department in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin this year to promote holiday fire safety, particularly with Christmas Tree safety.  3,000 water resistant ornaments were generously provided by the Shriners and the Fond du Lac Fire Department was more than happy to jump in to distribute them.  And they knew just the right places to begin.  The ornaments were attached to trees for sale at local tree sale locations and the local news media was on-hand to help spread the word. Chief Peter O'Leary hopes to expand on this program in future years and reach attendees of the Holiday parade or the annual tree-lighting ceremony.  "We hope these ornaments will remind our residents of how to keep fire safe during he holiday season" he says.  

Bronze Statue of Sparky

In an effort to recognize educators who take a lead role in making their communities safer, NFPA presents the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award.

The application deadline is February 9, 2018.

NFPA is looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States and Canada who

  • 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.

The Educator of the Year receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel and registration to NFPA Conference in Las Vegas in June 2018 for an award presentation, where the recipient will receive the Sparky statuette.

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

Image of high-rise building and safety tips

High-rise buildings have garnered significant attention in the fire safety world over the years. Because of the nature of high-rise buildings, a great number of people have to travel great vertical distances on the stairs to evacuate in an emergency. Historically, it has been said that occupants should never use an elevator during a fire or similar building emergency. However, after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, this position was reevaluated.

Some buildings are better equipped with elevators intended for use during an emergency. These types of elevators will be clearly marked that they are safe to use in the event of an emergency.

Elevators that meet section 7.14 of the Life Safety Code© may be used for occupant evacuation. However, it is never required. Where elevators are used for occupant egress, the elevator shall not count as one of the required means of egress, it shall not be included in determining the capacity of the means of egress, and it shall not be used to satisfy the arrangement of means of egress requirements.  There are numerous other requirements that must be met in order to use an elevator for occupant evacuation during a fire or similar emergency including, but not limited to, marking of the elevator, building fire alarm requirements, building sprinkler system requirements, and two-way communication systems in the elevator lobby.  Regardless of what occupancy type the elevator is in, the requirements can be found in section 7.14. 

NFPA’s High-rise Apartment and Condominium Safety tip sheet covers how to escape during an emergency based on various scenarios.

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