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FEMA has released the results of the 2019 National Household Survey (NHS) and survey data are available on OpenFEMA.


The National Household Survey tracks progress in personal disaster preparedness through investigation of the American public's preparedness actions, attitudes, and motivations. FEMA administers the survey in English and Spanish via landline and mobile telephone to a random sampling of approximately 5,000 adult respondents. The survey includes a nationally representative sample as well as hazard-specific oversamples which may include earthquake, flood, wildfire, hurricane, winter storm, extreme heat, tornado, and urban event.


With the release of the raw data, emergency managers, academics and researchers can dig deeper into these findings. With the data on OpenFEMA, you can ask your own questions and analyze the data that is most important to your work and the communities you serve. For example:

  • If you are a local emergency manager or provide disaster preparedness outreach, you can use the demographic information to better understand the needs of your community—who is likely to have seen information about how to prepare? Who is most likely to act? Least likely?
  • You can also gain insight into people’s emergency planning habits. For example, how many people plan to check on neighbors if there is a tornado? How many plan to use public transportation to evacuate if a hurricane is coming? And which groups of people are most financially prepared for an emergency with savings and adequate insurance?
  • If you’re designing new programs or want to improve current outreach, you can use the data to choose the most effective methods for your community based on hazard risk and demographics. Then, use the data to create visualizations for grant applications and reports.


The NHS datasets on OpenFEMA are meant to be used by community stakeholders for analysis and creation of metrics and other materials to better assist them in preparing individuals and communities for disasters. Datasets include the raw, unedited data. As such, users should plan to clean the data as needed prior to analysis. The datasets also include an executive summary, the survey instrument, raw weighted and unweighted data, aggregated data analysis, and a codebook with weighting overviews. In addition to the 2018 data, 2017 data is also available on OpenFEMA.


Users of the NHS datasets should also cite the date the data was accessed or retrieved from In addition, users must clearly state that "FEMA and the Federal Government cannot vouch for the data or analyses derived from these data after the data have been retrieved from the Agency's website.”

Front page of lesson planMassachusetts high school students are imitating a dangerous viral video circulating on the social media app Tik Tok that has firefighters issuing an alert. According to news reports it’s called “the outlet challenge” and involves partially inserting the plug of a cellphone charger into an outlet, and then sliding a penny down the wall onto the exposed prongs. The results include sparks and damage to the electrical system. In some cases, fires, injuries, and even electrocution could result. Massachusetts fire officials, the police, and school officials are working together to investigate the incidents.

First page of lesson planNFPA urges the public not to participate in the #outletchallenge and to review educational information on using electrical outlets, and electricity in general, safely.

In addition to the extensive electrical safety materials offered in the Electrical Community Toolkit, NFPA provides a 60-minute lesson plan, The Fire Challenge, A Conversation with Parents and Caretakers, to help open a dialogue to discourage risky behavior, and the lesson plan, Making Safe & Responsible Choices, specifically for young adolescents. Both lesson plans can be valuable resources for fire departments, parents and caregivers.

The NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference is up for revision. Download our commenCover of Desk Referencet form and submit your suggestions by February 28.

The document details the messages used in NFPA educational programs, curricula, and handouts and provides the fire service and fire and life safety educators with consistent language to use with the public.

Sparky bronze-plated statue

NFPA is looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States and Canada 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 2019 from a fire department association, community organization, or government entity will be considered.

The deadline is March 6, 2020 to be considered for this prestigious award that includes a monetary prize, travel, and registration to attend NFPA Conference & Expo for an awards ceremony, where the recipient will receive the Sparky statuette.

Illustration of a fireplace

There’s nothing better than that cozy feeling that our heaters provide us with when the weather is cold and harsh. As we chase away the chill in our homes with our heating systems, let’s not forget the risks involved. Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. These homes include one- and two-family homes and apartments. Nearly half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. Space heaters, including wood stoves, account for the overwhelming majority of fatal and non-fatal injuries in home heating fires.

Here are some tips for keeping safe.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet (one-metre) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
  • Have a three foot (one-metre) “Kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

You can find more tips and resources in the heating section of the NFPA website.

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