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Fire Prevention Week provides a great opportunity to remind communities about the importance of fire prevention at home. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” reinforces critical home fire safety messages, as cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries. But the cooking safety messages around Fire Prevention Week apply far beyond the campaign. NFPA’s Fire Prevention Happens All Year Long tip sheet is full of guidelines and recommendations for practicing fire safety in the kitchen any time or season."Fire Prevention Happens All Year Long" tip sheet


Following are key cooking safety messages included in the resource:


  • Be on alert! Don’t use the stove or stovetop if you’re sleepy or have had alcohol.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

For more information and resources on cooking safety, visit our
Fire Prevention Week website.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued over the past several months, I, like so many others have been carefully monitoring the data and following recommendations from leading epidemiologists and public health experts for how to keep myself and my family safe from the virus. NFPA has paid particular attention to how to keep our staff safe. And like many of you on the front lines of fire and life safety education, I have also been keeping an eye on the public’s response to this information. What I have noticed is, that while many are following the advice, news reports show many people disregard the reports or refuse to believe what science tells us about the way COVID-19 spreads, and how dangerous the virus can be.


While initially surprised to see repeated warnings from top industry professionals fall on some deaf ears, it is not unlike our ability to effectively reach the public with key fire safety messages. We have seen for a long time a general complacency and “it can’t happen to me” attitude about fire safety. If ignorance of safety information, data, and directives permeate, how do we more effectively get the word out and how can we capitalize on opportunities to deliver credible information that encourages and empowers people to make better, more informed decisions and take action to protect their families, their personal safety, and their homes.


One such way is through Fire Prevention Week. As the longest public health observance on record, Fire Prevention Week is a trusted, established, and long-standing campaign that works as a catalyst for reaching communities with information and recommendations that can easily be understood and integrated into daily life.


In June, NFPA announced that the theme for the 2020 Fire Prevention Week (FPW) campaign, which takes place October 4-10, is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.” Its cooking safety message is timely for several reasons. First and foremost, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment, according to recent NFPA research. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning home cooking fires occur most often when people aren’t keeping a close eye on what they’re cooking. The United States has seen a decrease in fire-related deaths in almost every major category except deaths from home cooking fires. They are, in fact, worse than they were 30 years ago, killing an average of 550 people a year. Sadly, cooking is now the leading cause of both reported home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S. And now at a time when people continue to avoid restaurants for the immediate future and opt instead to do more cooking and entertaining at home, these circumstances collectively create the potential for an increase in home cooking fires.


Getting people to recognize that there is still a home fire risk has been challenging. “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” works to remind the public that fires can and do still happen. It educates the public about the dangers posed by cooking and the simple but effective actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen.


No doubt these are challenging times with no easy answers, but our work to help advocate for and implement fire and life safety in our communities is even more crucial than ever before. Less fires means less burden on our first responders. The work we do for Fire Prevention Week is important to the security and well being of communities everywhere. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to recognize and take full advantage of the campaign not just in October, but all year long. Together, by sharing campaign-related resources and information we can help inspire individuals and families to become their own advocates and embrace their personal role in our safety system.


For more information about Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” in addition to a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit our website at

With so many of us working and studying either from home or in new arrangements created to socially distance, COVID-19 has certainly changed how we connect. However, there are still countless creative ways to showcase this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen.” NFPA has created a list of Out of theFPW Out of the Box Ideas document Box ideas to help you get the word out about cooking safety.



Among these resources are tips and recommendation for connecting with community partners. Many businesses and organizations champion safety so include them in your outreach efforts. Check with insurance and protection companies, community-based groups focused on support for families, and other local businesses to see if they would be interested in partnering up. They may have a budget for fire-safety messaging, which can be used for co-branding materials, FPW products, and shared media spots.



Drive-thru and social media events and activities also offer opportunities to engage the whole community.

Watch the recording of our “Out of the Box” Fire Prevention Week Webinar for more interesting ideas. Also, take a look at the Keep Your Community Cooking Safely toolkit, which provides resources for getting kitchen safety messaging out in your neighborhood. Activities, tip sheets, and more can all be found on the FPW website.


Every day, 10,000 Americans in the “Baby Boomer” generation are turning 65, with currently over 52 million Americans over the age of 65, representing approximately 16% of the population.  Adults 65 and over experience higher incidence, injury and deaths from fires and falls than the general population, regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status and geographic location.  Whether you are over 65, or like me, the “Sandwich Generation,” taking on increased responsibilities for aging parents while still caring for children, preventing falls is critical to maintaining quality of life and independent living.


NFPA’s Remembering WhenTM (RM) Older Adult Fire & Fall Prevention Program  pairs fire service with public health and elder care agencies to support healthy behaviors among older adults and their caregivers.  Based upon eight key fire and eight key fall prevention messages, the program is used to support behavior change, community engagement and public education.   Program components includes a group presentation for use in the community, materials to support conducting home assessment visits, implementing community smoke alarm installation programs, and addressing hoarding issues.   All materials are free and available for download from the NFPA Public Education website.


The risk factors within aging populations are similar for fires and falls, making the need to educate older adults on adopting prevention and response behaviors critical.  The aging process alone creates limitations such as decreased mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive functioning.  Combined with aging homes/appliances, increased clutter, hoarding behaviors, and an increase in the use of medications for chronic conditions, the older adult population is consistently vulnerable to the effects of falls and fires. Medications to manage chronic conditions and disabilities too, increase the risk for fire and falls. 

As approximately 95% of older adults live independently in their own homes, helping aging adults navigate daily activities such as cooking, bathing, and moving through their home without incident is essential to maintaining their independence, reducing fires and falls, reducing strain on fire service resources for non-emergency lift assist calls.  Dori Krahn, Community Relations Coordinator for the Saskatoon, Canada Fire Department offers the benefits of the RW program to her population, Fire and falls are a great combination – fire safety gets us the group presentation and once there, participants are often surprised by how much they learned about fall prevention. Conversely, fall prevention gets us into people’s homes and once we are there, they are surprised that their smoke alarms haven’t just automatically taken care of themselves and their fire escape plans can’t be left to intuition.”


Falls send an average of one of every 17 people who was at least 65 to the emergency department per year.  Many firefighters see more fall victims than fire victims.  In some cases, they are called to help someone who has fallen get back into bed or chair.   In 2016 and 2017, local fire departments went to more “assist invalid” incidents than to structure fires. Many of these incidents were caused by falls.  NFPA found that “assist invalid” incidents increased 35% from 2014 to 2017   With increasing calls to fall-related incidents, the fire service is in a unique position to work with community partners for prevention. AG

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NFPA's Home Safety Checklist  helps public education and injury prevention professionals to engage with their residents in taking stock of simple, critical ways to prevent falls and fires, and creates opportunities to address barriers to behavior change.  From clearing stairways and exits of clutter, to installing proper lighting, to safety rails in the shower, there are numerous ways to prevent falls among older adults and support healthy aging across the life span.   NFPA's Remembering When Older Adult Fire & Fall Prevention Program  provides the tools, talking points, materials and motivation to help older adults reduce their risk of fire and fall.  Falls Prevention Day is sponsored by the National Council on Aging, is a great time to reach out to the older adults in your life and your community to protect and promote their quality of life.


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” focuses on cooking safety, as cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. But it’s important to be prepared in case of a fire in your home, no matter the cause. While NFPA’s survey data shows that 71 percent of Americans have a home escape plan, less than half (47 percent) have actually practiced it.


Home escape planning and practice are basic but critical elements of fire safety. Today’s home fires are faster than ever. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.

 home fire escape grid

 To help be prepared in the event of a home fire and escape safely, download this Home Fire Escape Grid so that you can develop and practice a plan with everyone in your household. Practice makes perfect, so drill your escape strategy twice a year, in as realistic conditions as possible. Find more tips and recommendations for creating an escape plan, along with other valuable safety messages for kitchen safety, on our Fire Prevention Week website.


While many people would like to thank their local fire departments for all they do to keep their communities safe, they often don’t know how. In honor of Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, 2020, NFPA and Domino’s are teaming up to launch an online sweepstakes that provides a fun, easy way for the public to thank and recognize their local U.S. fire departments. As first responders have continued to serve on the frontlines of the pandemic over the past several months, often putting their own health and safety at risk to help others, the sweepstakes is a timely way to help the public show their support and appreciation.


NFPA and Domino’s encourage any and all individuals to nominate their local fire department for submission into the sweepstakes. Fifteen fire departments will be randomly selected and receive a $100 eGift card from Domino’s. Nominations must be submitted online by September 30; winners will be officially announced during Fire Prevention Week.


We are promoting the sweepstakes on Facebook and Twitter. Please share the posts with your communities to help spread the word and maximize participation!


For the previous 12 years, NFPA and Domino’s have joined forces during Fire Prevention Week through a local program which matches fire departments with their local Domino’s store to conduct smoke alarm checks in their communities. The program is still available for those communities that are interested in participating.

As many households enter the new school year remotely and several family members continue to work from or remain at home, this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen”, is more relevant than ever. Spending more time at home means more time in the kitchen, so up through Fire Prevention Week this October 4-10, we’ll be highlighting resources that can help you make the most of this year’s special circumstances while promoting fire safety.


Cooking together is a great way to bond with the family but adding kids to the mix requires reviewing basic safety precautions. While cooking fires remain the leading cause of home fires and injuries, non-fire cooking injuries are even more common than those caused by the fires. NFPA’s most recent cooking fires report shows that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of children ages 5-9 and 14 percent of children age 10-14 suffered microwave oven scalds.Kids in the Kitchen tip sheet


Our Kids in the Kitchen tip sheet offers simple but important ways to help kids of all ages learn how to participate in cooking activities without putting themselves or others at risk. 


Educators, parents, and other community members have ample opportunities to be innovative in how they share meaningful fire safety messages around the kitchen this year. For more ways that NFPA can help, check out the Fire Prevention Week homepage.

“Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, highlighting the need for people to “cook with care” in the kitchen. And it's less than a month away!


We know current circumstances present unique challenges to promoting the campaign this year.  While COVID-19 may have changed the way we work, play, and learn, it hasn’t changed the need to address the number-one cause of home fires and home fire injuries – cooking.


NFPA’s FPW Out of the Box ideas document provides multiple, creative options to bring fire safety messaging to your communities, such as virtual truck tours and open houses, poster contests, and distributing materials through local take out restaurants.   Here are some additional activities to consider:

  • Our Cooking Checklist has room for your logo and can be downloaded and copied to insert along with local take out restaurants, pizza delivery, school lunch programs, and food pantries, and is available in English, Spanish, and French.
  • Partner with your local grocer for the early morning hours dedicated to Older Adults to disseminate vital cooking safety information and FPW branded materials.
  • Use NFPA’s FPW social media posts which are formatted for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and available in English, Spanish and French. (All social media posts like the one shown to the right are formatted for specific platforms and available in English, Spanish, and French.)


These are just a few ways that fire and life safety educators can be creative and innovative in celebrating Fire Prevention WeekTM, the oldest public health observance on record in the U.S.  


It’s time to “Serve up Fire Safety” for your community!


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest.


Remote school environments, distancing requirements and increased responsibilities for fire departments mean getting creative with public education and outreach activities. As Maria Bostian, Fire & Life Safety (FLS) Educator for the Kannapolis, NC Fire Department notes, “we are thankful to have strong partnerships to rely on to help us find new ways to disseminate our educational materials.”


When schools went remote in the spring, Bostian, who is NFPA’s 2020 FLS Educator of the Year, sprang into action, working with the school lunch program to assure cooking safety and related materials were distributed along with the lunches to students and their families. She also worked with a local caterer to insert FLS safety information into take out dinners reaching across multiple audiences in her community. Her department’s strong ties to the local parks & recreation department means that all three entities are working together to create and sell home pizza kits that will include goody bags of fire safety information as part of their “Pizza and Prevention” event. And residents are encouraged to join the Fire Prevention WeekTM fun by taking selfies around town with Flat Sparky.


FPW is going to look different this year, but fire & life safety educators are showing their commitment to public education by continuing to find new ways to reach their audiences. NFPA’s FPW Out of the Box Ideas document provides multiple options for FLS educators to promote this year’s campaign and year-round fire prevention education.   Use #firepreventionweek in all your FPW Social Media Posts.

Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest.  NFPA’s COVID-19 page has resources to support your FLS education efforts including videos, tip sheets and social media cards.

NFPA and Domino’s have teamed up for many years to support local fire departments and Domino’s stores in conducting smoke alarm safety checks in their communities during Fire Prevention Week. While this program has continued to grow and succeed over the years, in light of the pandemic, we are not promoting the program this October as we typically would.


However, for fire departments that would like to implement the program in their communities, we are offering suggestions to do so safely. The deadline for setting up the program in coordination with Domino’s is September 14. To receive assistance with planning, please email Domino’s contact Dani Bulger. 


We are currently planning to celebrate Fire Prevention Week with Domino's in a unique way this year, so keep your eyes open for updates!

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