Skip navigation
All Places > Safety Source > Blog > 2019 > March

The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s Board of Directors has selected Chief Russ Sanders as the recipient of the 2019 CFSI/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award. Sanders is the NFPA regional director for the central region of the United States. The presentation will take place at the 31st Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner on April 25, 2019, at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, D.C.

Chief Russ Sanders

Throughout his distinguished career, Sanders has held leadership positions in numerous national and international organizations and committees, including Executive Secretary of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and the Director of Central Field Operations for NFPA. On the international level, he serves as the President of the United States Delegation to the Comite Technique Internationale de Prevention and d ’Extinction de Feu. He also is the NFPA representative to the European Fire Service, the National Fire Chiefs Council of the United Kingdom, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, and the Global Fire Service Leadership Alliance.

“Russ Sanders has distinguished himself on so many levels and in so many areas within the fire and emergency services,” said Dr. William F. Jenaway, CFSI President. “He has made significant contributions in the areas of public safety and prevention, research, codes and standards, and leadership.”


As the birthday celebration of Sparky® winds down, NFPA would like to call your attention to another helpful resource that educators, parents, and the fire service can use to engage younger generations.


The “Connect the Dots” print-out is just one of several entertaining tools that we highlighted this week in our birthday blog series. The primary focus of this particular piece is to build brain power and challenge kids in mathematics. Children are encouraged to complete math problems so that they can connect the dots and reveal an important life-saving device.


There are two different activity sheets – one that is geared to younger children with less complicated addition and subtraction problems, and a second for older students with more challenging calculations.


As Sparky checks off year 68 and his festivities wrap up, NFPA encourages educators to keep sharing brain-building tips and tools with children all year long. Visit for easy-to-use resources and key safety messages.


March 23rd is National Puppy Day. Established in 2006, National Puppy Day is a “paw-some” opportunity for all dog enthusiasts to celebrate “puppy love” with their favorite fur ball of a canine. The day is also designed to raise awareness about puppy mills and help prospective pet owners consider adoption. In addition, it can be fitting on National Puppy Day to remind ourselves about the precautions that need to be taken with our pets. Simply put, pets can cause fires. Some pets chew through electrical cords. Others bump into or knock over cooking equipment. We can reduce the chances of a tragedy by reviewing precautions included in NFPAs Pet Fire Safety tip sheet. So at the very “leashed,” relax and cuddle up with your adorable puppy pooch, while keeping both humans and four-legged friends safe from fire.



As the 68th birthday celebration of Sparky the Fire Dog® continues this week, NFPA encourages educators and first responders to share the upbeat video, “Firefighters are On Their Way” and inform children about basic firefighter responsibilities and emergency response sequences.


Many kids love firefighters. They enjoy learning about their gear and the ways that first responders jump into action when they are needed most. In this fun-filled video, artists on piano, guitar, and drums set the toe-tapping tone for former PBS Kids Personality Steve Songs to sing a lively tune. Sparky also plays a role in the jam session – sharing important safety messages throughout the clip that runs 4-plus minutes.


Check out the video at Sparky School House – and share it with the children in your community. You won’t be able to get the tune out of your head!


NFPA’s Sparky & the Case of The Missing Smoke Alarms is an entertaining app that teaches children essential messages about fire prevention through creative storytelling and real-world safety questions. The tool is just one of several resources being highlighted this week as America’s favorite fire dog celebrates his 68th birthday.


The curious tale chronicles the exploits that Sparky® and his friends undertake when they learn that a loved one’s home is missing its smoke alarms. Users can choose to read the story on their own or select an audio storytelling feature to learn about the foursome’s search for the lifesaving devices, and their identification of other safety mishaps along the way.


“We all need smoke alarms in our homes,” Sparky reminds the app users. “They let us know if there is a fire.”


To that end, the app emphasizes the importance of people paying attention to their surroundings and being well-informed about safety measures by asking questions such as, “Why does a home need more than one smoke alarm?” or “What would you do in this situation?”


To find out what Sparky and the gang discovered during their search for the missing smoke alarms, to learn lifelong fire safety lessons, and to access helpful materials for educating school-age children, please download Sparky & the Case of The Missing Smoke Alarms at App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Sparky’s birthday may have been yesterday, but the fun continues this week as the iconic fire dog shares fun, educational resources designed to help inform children about fire prevention.


NFPA’s floppy-eared mascot points to an informative and interactive tool today that is well-loved by parents, teachers, and kids. The Sparky Birthday Surprise App includes a storybook that shows the fire pup celebrating his birthday with friends while highlighting fire safety tips in an entertaining and engaging manner. This section has a read aloud feature, and uses different sound effects that help children better understand life safety situations and emergency notifications. For example, the sound of a smoke alarm is accentuated so that children become more familiar with that piece of life-saving fire protection equipment, and the steps that families need to take when smoke alarm sounds are featured, including:


  • Know the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, remember to get outside and stay outside.
  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place.


When learning is fun, kids are more apt to retain knowledge and know how to respond if an emergency occurs. The Sparky Birthday Surprise App reiterates important lessons throughout by asking users questions and providing answers. Additionally, there are games such as “Birthday Shapes,” “Piñata Counting,” and “Sparky Addition” that challenge kids to count, identify shapes, and build brain power. Those that love art will particularly enjoy the app’s “Paint” option. This helpful fire safety resource is available in English and Spanish; and can be downloaded via the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.


Happy Birthday to Sparky!

Posted by vholub Employee Mar 18, 2019



Everybody’s favorite fire safety dog, Sparky, celebrates his 68th birthday today. Since 1951, Sparky has helped fire professionals, teachers, civic organizations, corporations, youth programs, and the media deliver invaluable messages about smoke alarms, escape planning, and seasonal safety considerations.


In honor of NFPA’s top dog teaching children and adults alike about fire and life safety for six-plus decades, we are highlighting Sparky’s journey and the different resources that have been developed to educate generations about fire prevention.


We start Sparky’s weeklong celebration by inviting you to read how he became America’s iconic fire dog in a storybook, “The Story of Sparky, The Fire Dog,” and by showing you a timeline of his life. As Sparky blows out the battery operated candles on his birthday cake, we ask that you take note of important fire and life safety messages, including:

  • Install working smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of each level of the home. Show all doors and windows and point to the two ways out of each room.
  • Plan and practice your escape drill with everyone in the home.


We have also created a visual walk down memory lane for you to enjoy and share with other Sparky fans. Check it out.

It’s a topic that’s made news headlines and is on the minds of many: how to keep schools safe and secure in the face of mass shootings in the United States. As school administrators and community officials work to protect schools from acts of targeted violence, the School Safety and Security Update fact sheet helps answer frequently asked questions and provides guidance on safe door locking. The fact sheet explains NFPAs current provisions and how they can be safely applied. On the more general topic of safety in public venues, the Safety in Places of Public Assembly tip sheet offers guidance for staying safe in the face of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or some other type of disaster or crisis. The tips sheet offers advice before entering a building, when you enter, and what to do during an emergency.

               NFPA tip sheet safety in public places           

City of Kingsport Fire Department Public Education Officer Barry Brickey has been chosen the 2019 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Brickey has been using NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn® program in the city’s elementary schools since 2006. He has also used NFPAs Remembering When™ program since 2010.

In 2006 he developed a billboard campaign themed with Fire Prevention Week slogans and home fire sprinkler messaging. The Kingsport Fire Department partnered with the state fire marshal’s office for a smoke alarm billboard in October 2018.

In 2011 Brickey won a contest to become the voice of Sparky the Fire Dog for NFPAs “Sparky and the Runaway Robot” and to celebrate Sparky’s birthday. For Fire Prevention Week that year, Brickey participated in a national radio media tour as the voice of Sparky.

He worked with the Holsten Valley Trauma Center Injury Prevention, the Kingsport Police and Contact 211 of Northeast Tennessee, to help reduce call numbers at a high-volume apartment complex.

He is the recipient of the 2006 Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Educator of the Year and the 2018 Tennessee Public Fire Educators Association Bruce Womack Fire Educator of the Year award.

Barry Brickey NFPA 2019 fire and life safety educator of the year

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: