Skip navigation
All Places > Safety Source > Blog > 2018 > February

Chicken in a chicken coop, followed by safety tips


Raising chickens as  hobby is popular. Hobby farmers enjoy raising chickens as livestock or pets. Our new Backyard Chicken Coop safety tip sheet gives guidance for protecting people, property and flocks from fire.

Public Education Coordinator Stan Barnes, of the Farmington Hills Fire Department, took a recent news story to heart.  Stan reached out to his fellow firefighters across the state of Michigan sharing, with heavy heart, the news of a fatal accident that occurred at a fire station.  "We share in their grief and realize that as safe as we are, and are endeavoring to be, accidents and unfortunate events still sometimes happen, even to us."  And then, just as a fire prevention specialist does, Stan took action.  He sat down, revisited, and updated the station's Safety Policy for Station Tours, giving more thought to a comprehensive policy.  And perhaps Stan's action will spur on other fire department's to do the same.

Teaching public education is sometimes like coaching very young hockey players; you never know quite how much information is getting through until little Johnny puts the puck deep, gives chase, then passes to a teammate in front of the net to score – just as practised!


Capt. Robert Taylor, a paid on-call firefighter for the City of Maple Ridge Fire Department in British Columbia, was part of a team delivering a kindergarten-to-Grade 3 fire safety program in the city’s elementary schools a few weeks ago.


“Later that week he was doing some driver training with another member,” said Maple Ridge Assistant Chief Timo Juurakko, “and had an experience that I asked him to put into writing.”


 Capt. Taylor takes it from here:


“The other day I was working in school doing K-3 pub-ed. As you know, the thought is always in your head – are we making a difference?


“Later that evening I was out doing a new driver training lesson when we came across a stranded vehicle in the middle of an intersection. We pulled to the side of the road and went to try and help, along with another female, who had also stopped to help.


“We got the vehicle to a safe spot, and the second female returned to her vehicle.


Capt. Robert Taylor of Maple Ridge Fire Department in British Columbia

“Just as we were returning to our lesson I heard the second female say, ‘So you are Capt. Taylor. Thanks to you, we have now checked our smoke alarms, and are working on our escape plans. I cannot even leave the kitchen unless I turn off the pans!’


“As I looked in the back of her vehicle, I saw a young boy waving. He was one of the students we had been with in school.


“Guess we can make a difference.”


He shoots. He scores!

Pets on leashes

A dog accidentally started a fire this week while stealing a pancake from on top of a stove in a Southwick, Massachusetts, home.

According to Fox 59, one of the family’s dogs hit the ignition while helping itself to the leftovers. Within minutes, the items on the stove ignited and the home’s fire alarm sounded.


The family had a security system that alerted the fire department, which responded and put out the flames.

Pets and wild animals have a part in starting about 700 home fires per year. Roughly three quarters were started by cooking equipment, fireplaces or chimneys, lighting, or candles. NFPA’s Pet Fire Safety tip sheet provides guidance for fire safety with household animals.

Photo of laptop motorized toy fitness tracker and other objects that use lithiumion batteries

Some major airlines no longer accept ‘smart’ luggage with non-removable lithium ion batteries as checked or carry-on luggage. The powerful batteries can potentially overheat and pose a fire hazard during flight. In some instances, smart bags with removable batteries will be allowed on board if the battery can be removed on site and taken on board with the customer. Check with your airline for restrictions.

NFPA’s Lithium Ion Battery Safety tip sheet includes precautions on ‘smart luggage.’

Glacier motif explaining the message revision process

The comment period will soon close for submitting suggested revisions to the NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference. The deadline is Friday, February 9, 2018. The comment form is for the purposes of providing substantiated comments on the current message document.

The messages contained in the 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 meeting in March to review submissions and update and revise the messages. Following the meeting, updated messaging will be incorporated into NFPA materials.

Cartoon Image of Hot Spots for Fire from American Burn Association

Burn Awareness Week 2018 is being observed February 4-10, the first full week of February. An initiative of the American Burn Association (ABA), it is an opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message throughout communities. It is also an excellent way to kick off Adult gesturing to a child not to touch matches followed by safety tipsa year full of burn awareness education. According to the ABA, annually in the U.S. approximately 486,000 people receive medical care for the treatment of burns. In 2016 alone, there were 3,280 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation and another 40,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries. NFPA provides a number of resources on the burn awareness page of the website to help keep kids, adults, and communities safe and aware of potentially harmful situations. The safety tip sheet on children and fires provides a list of steps to keep the family safe. The page also includes videos, resources for kids, a tip sheet, as well as community outreach ideas for the fire service and public educators.

Tom Hufford- Firefighter and Safe Kids Member from Oklahoma- Stop Gas Fires

I have always been a connoisseur of food growing up in a family of cooks who owned a local diner.  At home we would always have a hamburger as a weekend treat fresh off the grill. This week a new commercial started circulating that talks about the difference in flat top burgers and flame grilled but it says they are blowing up the competition.  Working and volunteering with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors for the last 16 years has given me a new perspective on why burns can be so devastating.  I have met many survivors that decided to add gasoline to a burn pile or had a gas can too close when they start a fire.  The results have been fatal sometimes but many more people have a lifetime of surgeries and skin grafts from the explosive nature of gasoline.  In spite of the fact we gas up our cars a couple times a week, and there are warning signs at the gas pumps, many people don't realize the dangers of gasoline.  This fast food commercial dramatizes a gasoline explosion which in too many cases ends badly. To keep your family safe anytime you are using gasoline, follow these safety tips;

  • Keep gasoline out of children's sight and reach. Children should never handle gasoline.
  • If fire does start while handling gasoline, do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
  • Do not use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (i.e., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).
  • Store gasoline outside the home (i.e., in a garage or lawn shed) in a tightly closed metal or plastic container approved by an independent testing laboratory or the local or state fire authorities. Never store gasoline in glass containers or non-reusable plastic containers (i.e., milk jugs).
  • Store only enough gasoline necessary to power equipment and let machinery cool before refueling it.
  • Never use gasoline inside the home or as a cleaning agent.
  • Clean up spills promptly and discard clean-up materials properly.
  • Do not smoke when handling gasoline.
  • Never use gasoline in place of kerosene.
  • Use caution when fueling automobiles. Do not get in and out of the automobile when fueling. Although rare, an electrical charge on your body could spark a fire, especially during the dry winter months.
  • Only fill portable gasoline containers outdoors. Place the container on the ground before filling and never fill containers inside a vehicle or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
  • Follow all manufacturers instructions when using electronic devices (those with batteries or connected to an electrical outlet) near gasoline.

For more safety tips and information visit or

Food on the stove

There’s a good chance that this Sunday’s square-off between the Philadelphia Eagles and the reigning NFL champs, the New England Patriots, will be the most-watched Super Bowl of all time. Last year 113.7 million people watched in combined television and online viewing. Since then, more streaming options have become available. Lots of people viewing the extravaganza means lots of cooking and food preparation in the kitchen. Be sure to put fire safety in your line up.

Kitchen Huddle

Prepare your cooking area. Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains–away from the stovetop. Have a kid-free zone of at least three feet (1 metre) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

Penalty Flag

The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, boiling, broiling, or grilling food. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Many smart phones come with a timer.


Stay awake. Be on alert while cooking. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop. If you have a small grease fire and decide to fight a fire on the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning the burner off. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.


Share these and other NFPA cooking safety tips with your family and friends.

Graphs and charts and statistics about candle firesImage of a lit candle followed by bullet points on safe use of candlesBurning candles in an apartment building bedroom in Princeton, New Jersey, was likely the cause of a recent fire that killed one person and displaced more than 30 people. According to news reports, Princeton Police Chief Nicholas K. Sutter stated, “Though the cause will be officially labeled ‘undetermined,’ we feel that more than likely candles burning in the bedroom were the cause.” A 73-year-old tenant died in the blaze. Meanwhile, 17 households that could not find other accommodations were sent to an extended-stay hotel that Princeton Community Housing is providing for them. The apartment building will be reconstructed, a process that could take 10 months. According to NFPA’s new Candle Fire Fact Sheet, three of every five (59%) candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations, was too close to the candle. In 16% of the fires the candles were unattended or abandoned. Sleep was a factor in 11% of the fires and 21% of the candle fire deaths. The fact sheet has additional statistics. The Candle Safety tip sheet provides a list of precautions.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: