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Over the past several months, outdoor gatherings have served as an effective way for friends and family to connect while minimizing exposure to the coronavirus. As temperatures drop in many parts of the country, outdoor portable heaters, fire pits, chimineas and campfires are being used to help comfortably extend social activities for as long as reasonably possible.


While these types of outdoor equipment can continue to be used safely, it’s important to remember that they do present potential fire hazards. Fortunately, these risks can be significantly reduced by following basic but important tips and recommendations:


Use fuel and fire starters properly

  • Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fuel usage, only using the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
  • For firepits, chimineas, or campfires, never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids to start or maintain a fire.
  • For electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire, make sure the extension cord you use is designed for outdoor use.
  • For outdoor propane heaters, store propane tanks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.


Never leave equipment unattended

  • Only use outdoor equipment when it’s being monitored closely.
  • Turn off outdoor portable outdoor heaters when you leave the area, even if it’s just for a few moments.
  • For campfires, fire pits, and chimineas, always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby, and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the area or going to sleep.


Carefully consider placement of equipment, keeping anything that can burn well away

  • Outdoor portable heaters should be placed on a flat, sturdy surface and in a location where they can’t be bumped into or knocked over.
  • Fire pits should be located at least 10 feet away from the home/structure.
  • In areas where campfires are permitted, they must be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn. Also make sure to clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from any type of equipment in use.
  • Make sure combustible items, such as blankets and outerwear, are at least three feet away from equipment.


If a fire breaks out, call the fire department

  • If a fire breaks involving any type of outdoor equipment, call the fire department immediately for assistance.


NOTE: If you’re a local official working to ensure that outdoor portable heaters are used properly and safely at restaurants and other businesses in your community, our new “Outdoor Heater Safety” fact sheet provides guidance and recommendations for safe usage, including proper storage of propane tanks, in accordance with NFPA 1, Fire Code.


We also have a wealth of free, downloadable public education resources addressing fire and life safety issues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure to check them out!


Along with the tremendous outreach efforts we saw from fire departments and safety educators in support of Fire Prevention Week this year, a wide range of businesses and organizations actively engaged in the campaign as well. These collective efforts are an important part of reaching communities with life-saving information, the true purpose of this campaign.


In one example Lowe’s used their stores and employees to educate communities about how they can protect their families and homes from the threats of fire and carbon monoxide (CO).


On October 12, more than 1,700 Lowe’s stores nationwide hosted fire safety events in their communities, featuring fun, family-focused activities to teach people about equipping their homes with smoke and CO alarms, as well as the importance of home escape planning and practice. Children were able to build a wooden fire truck in a special workshop and received firefighter hats, coloring books and educational materials.


The effort drew more than 120,000 residents across the country. In addition, each store donated buckets filled with supplies to their local fire departments as a thank you for the tremendous work they do in communities. All told, they gave more than $173,000 in equipment to local fire departments.



A tremendous thanks to Lowe’s for actively supporting Fire Prevention Week and promoting critical home fire safety messages communities nationwide. To learn more about the focus of Lowe’s fire safety efforts, take a look at this article:

    Hoarding criteria include the inability to use living space for its intended purpose. 


Compulsive hoarding behavior among residents increases the risk of serious injury and death to both the resident and to responding fire service personnel. The excessive accumulation of materials in homes increases risk of falls, exacerbation of chronic illness and impedes successful escape in the event of fire.  Hoarding situations also pose a significant threat to fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to neighboring residents. Often, the fire department is the first to identify this behavior in the home and, working with community partners, can address this complex issue.


Hoarding: From Enforcement to Engagement is just one of the four expert-developed workshops featured in the 2020  NFPA Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE), virtual conference, taking place Tuesday, October 27th from 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM EST.   This presentation will identity the characteristics of hoarding behavior and examine the hazards that loom during emergency response in hoarding conditions. It will provide assistance in the identification of resources in your community that are needed to develop a task force and allow you to engage with task force professionals who can answer questions that exist around the social, psychological and environmental considerations that play a part of the treatment for a person who hoards.


This session is appropriate for Fire & Life Safety Educators, Elder Service, Public Health, and Injury Prevention professionals.  Register Today and learn from your peers the challenges and successes in working with community partners to support resident health and safety.  Other SOPE workshops feature Falls Prevention among Older Adults, Community Risk Assessment, and Integrating Technology into Education Programs, as well as Networking Roundtables and dedicated NFPA Resource Center.  All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for registrants so if you have to step away from your computer, you won’t miss a thing.  Join the over 1000 public education professionals who have already registered for this event!


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.

Earlier this month, NFPA learned about a local service project that embodies the true spirit of collaboration as it relates to fire and life safety.

The story takes place in Draper, Utah where the Draper Fire Department was recently asked by the Grossinger family to help with a wildfire mitigation project around their home. According to local news reports, as the department began working, they noticed something amiss: the home’s sprinkler and smoke alarm systems needed updating. But this was not a typical upgrade – it was something a bit more special because the parents and the older daughter in the family are deaf and have been reliant on their younger son who can hear, to alert them when the smoke alarms sounded or if there was a fire in the home.home fire safety

Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, the Draper Fire Department immediately reached out to area partners who agreed to provide special smoke alarms that visually flash to alert deaf occupants, and to work on repairing and updating the home’s residential fire sprinklers. Soon after the initial contact from the fire department, the companies began work in the home.

The service project was organized as part of NFPA’s National Fire Prevention Week (FPW), which ran from October 4 – 10. According to Draper fire officials, the project was intended not only to serve as a reminder for other homeowners to review their own fire safety measures during the week of the campaign, but to do so all year long. As part of the project, the department provided information and tips related to this year’s FPW campaign theme, “Serving Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” to help raise awareness of the common causes of home cooking fires and ways to prevent them.

The story of the Grossinger Family is a heartening one, and one that reminds us that the work we do for Fire Prevention Week is important to the security and well- being of communities everywhere. As fire safety advocates, it is crucial that all of us recognize and take full advantage of the campaign not just in October but throughout the year. Thanks to the hard work of the Draper Fire Department and their partners, individuals and families in Utah and beyond are inspired to become their own advocates for, and embrace their personal role in, this important system of safety.

Learn more about the Fire Prevention Week campaign, and get tips and resources to help keep your family safe from fire by visiting NFPA’s Public Education website.

Photo: Mark Grossinger (left), Don Buckley, Fire Marshal – Draper City Fire Department (Utah) (center), and Brooke Grossinger (right); photo courtesy of the Draper Fire Department.

Jennifer Froehlich, fire & life safety educator from Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department, Michigan displays her virtual learning environment with tools she learned from a recent workshop delivered by Brene Duggins.


Search the term “Virtual Education” on-line, and a never-ending list of news articles, editorials both for and against, and advertisements promoting virtual learning platforms will fill your screen.   As we are still in the throes of COVD-19 restrictions and uncertainty, Fire & Life Safety (FLS) and Public Educators find themselves fast-tracking their conversion of in person activities to virtual options. 


Taking your education programs virtually anywhere is just one of the four expert-developed workshops featured in the 2020  NFPA Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE), virtual conference, taking place Tuesday, October 27th from 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM EST.  This dynamic session will engage and enhance putting digital tools, tips and tricks into participant hands. 


Delivered by Brene Duggins, Fire Prevention Coordinator for the Holly Grove FD, and Media Coordinator of the Oak Grove High School in Davidson County, NC, this session is appropriate for FLS educators, school and community health educators, injury prevention professionals and anyone trying to reach their population in a virtual world. 


Register Today (hint: registration link works best in Chrome/Firefox/Safari) to take part in this and other SOPE workshops: Falls Prevention among Older Adults, Community Risk Assessment, and Hoarding as a Community Issue, as well as participating in Networking Roundtables and dedicated NFPA Resource Center.  All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for registrants so if you have to step away from your computer, you won’t miss a thing.  Join the over 1100 public education professionals who have already registered for this event and step up your virtual education game.


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.


A Columbus, OH family of four lost their lives to an early morning fire this past weekend, caused by embers from their fireplace igniting nearby flammable materials. According to news report, while the home had smoke alarms, investigators found that the batteries were missing.


This tragic incident reinforces the importance of working smoke alarms throughout the home while underscoring a potential fire hazard associated with fireplaces.

Following are reminders to share with your community when using fireplaces. This unfortunate event leaves a painful hole in the community. Fire prevention works best when multiple levels of protection come together.

Working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers, and a home escape plan practiced at least twice a year, give residents a complete system that decrease the chance of a devastating fire while increasing the chances of safely escaping if a fire does indeed break out.



Use these smoke alarm tips to help ensure that your community will know how to protect themselves with smoke alarms, summarized here:

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.
  • Install alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Fire departments and other organizations have many resources at their disposal to assist people with accessing the fire protection measures they need. These tips make creating a home escape plan easy to understand, and these sharable downloads present useful information regarding home fire sprinklers.

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. Falls send an average of one of every 17 people who was at least 65 to the emergency department per year in the U.S.  Many firefighters see more fall victims than fire victims, often called to help someone who has fallen get back into their bed or chair.   In 2016 and 2017, local US fire departments went to more “assist invalid” incidents than to structure fires, with many of these incidents caused by falls.   The data are similar in Canada with falls being the most common injury among those aged 65+ and being the leading cause of hospitalization.


With increasing calls to EMS for fall-related incidents (for both the first fall and repeated falls), the fire service is in a unique position to work with community partners for prevention. NFPA’s Remembering When Older Adult Fire & Fall Prevention Program  pairs fire service with community partners to support improved health outcomes of this population and reduce strain on fire service resources for non-emergency lift assist calls.  Falls prevention among older adults is just one of the expert-developed educational sessions at the 2020  NFPA Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE), taking place Tuesday, October 27th from 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM EST. 


This fully virtual and free professional development lets you learn from the successes and challenges experienced by your peers in the world of prevention and risk reduction.   Falls Prevention workshop presenter Dori Krahn, Community Relations Coordinator for the Saskatoon, Canada Fire Department offers the benefits of the fire and falls prevention efforts 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.”


Register Today to take part in NFPA’s first ever fully virtual Spotlight on Public Education featuring four timely topics facing public educators:  Hoarding, Falls Prevention, Community Risk Assessment, and Integrating Technology into Education Programs, as well as Networking Roundtables and dedicated NFPA Resource Center.  All sessions will be recorded and available on demand for registrants so if you have to step away from your computer, you won’t miss a thing.


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.

The realities of COVID-19 are pushing households to find creative ways to celebrate Halloween this year.

With trick-or-treating and Halloween parties being less of an option, it’s likely that more home decorating, pumpkin carving and use of jack-o-lanterns will occur this year, which may include increased use of candles and electrical lighting.Halloween decorations


With these considerations in mind, NFPA is reminding everyone to make fire safety a priority when celebrating the holiday.

Candles are among the leading causes of U.S. home fires. According to NFPA’s latest U.S. Home Candle Fires report, an annual average of 7,610 home fires are started by candles, resulting in 81 deaths, 677 injuries and $278 million in direct property damage. In addition, an average of 770 home fires started when decorations ignited. These fires caused an average of two civilian deaths, 20 civilian injuries, and $11.1 million in direct property damage per year.


NFPA shares these considerations to make sure that the only scary thing about Halloween this year is a horror movie marathon:

  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • When using electrical lighting to decorate your home, make sure it is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. Make sure all smoke alarms are working.

For families still planning to attend Halloween parties or go trick-or-treating:

  • When choosing costumes, stay away from long trailing fabric that could come in contact with open flames or other heat sources.
  • Teach children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes.


For more resources on how to keep the festivities from turning frightful, visit the NFPA Halloween safety page. Include kids in fire safety with age-appropriate activities that can be found on NFPA’s Sparky the Fire Dog homepage.


Fire Prevention WeekTM (FPW) is celebrated once a year in the beginning of October to raise awareness of fire safety, and all month long we’ll continue to see communities engaged in a variety of activities to help reduce the incidence of home cooking fires, addressing the number one cause of home fires & home fire injuries.


Fire and Life Safety (FLS) Education, however, happens all year long, addressing a myriad of community needs such as electrical safety, falls prevention, smoke alarm use, and home escape planning.   The work of the FLS Educator is one of constantly staying on top of local data and trends, finding ways to connect their community members with resources, and continuously engaging across platforms, audiences and topics. 


Enter NFPA’s Spotlight on Public Education first ever virtual conference, to be held Tuesday, October 27th from 11am – 5:30 pm EST.   NFPA kicked off the month with the annual celebration of FPW, and we are rounding out the month preparing FLS Educators for the year-long work they do to engage, educate, and advocate for the health and safety of their communities.  With four expert-developed sessions on Hoarding, Older Adult Falls Prevention, Community Risk Assessment & Reduction, and Integrating Technology into your Fire Safety Programs, there is something for everyone who involved in fire safety, injury prevention, healthcare, and public education. 


This FREE event includes live networking roundtable sessions along with an NFPA Resource Center, and will be recorded with access for all registrants.  One of the many lessons learned in the COVID-19 pandemic is the need to continue to learn, innovate, and grow to meet the needs of our community. Register today for this professional development event to learn from the successes and challenges experienced by your peers in the world of prevention and risk reduction.   In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring highlights of each of our Spotlight on Public Education sessions. 


Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on TwitterFacebook  and Instagram to keep up with the latest in fire and life safety education.



As the 98th annual Fire Prevention Week (FPW) comes to a close, I would like to take this time to thank the our fire departments, community agencies, public educators and all who work so hard to bring fire and life safety education to their communities.   Our world changed the second week of March due to COVID-19, and fire and life safety educators (FLS) were challenged with finding new ways to reach their communities amidst numerous restrictions.


The Public Education Division at NFPA is honored to have been able to be a part of the incredible innovation in this year’s Fire Prevention Week’s activities.  From having over 1400 people attend our FPW Out of the Box Ideas Webinar, to the amazing use of our Social Media Cards and #firepreventionweek, to literally crashing with so many people viewing our new I Spy Cooking Safety Video, we worked together across the U.S., Canada, and areas across the globe to promote home fire safety through our “Serve up Fire Safety,TM” efforts.


Communities held cooking and poster contests, motor vehicle parades, partnered with food pantries and restaurants, made Tik Tok and Youtube videos, all in support of the oldest Public Health Observance in the U.S.  The dedication, creativity, and perseverance of our fire and life safety professionals to Fire Prevention Week, during a pandemic in which most were juggling multiple responsibilities, is a testament to the importance of fire safety education.


While the official observance of FPW is coming to an end, all month long we’ll continue to see communities engaged in a variety of activities to help reduce the incidence of home cooking fires, addressing the number one cause of home fires & home fire injuries.   There’s so much more that we’ll highlight this month as regards to FPW, and there’s so much more great work ahead of us to educate, engage, and advocate for the safety of our communities.


Fire Prevention Week is developed and launched year after year through the amazing work of dedicated professionals here at NFPA, and then it comes to life from all of you out there who do amazing work every day to keep your communities safe.  My sincere thanks to all the fire and life safety educators, burn prevention professionals, school and community educators, and anyone who continues to help their communities to “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” during Fire Prevention Week and throughout the year.


Check out the new cooking safety animations created through a collaboration of Vision 20/20, NFPA and US Fire Administration to keep the efforts rolling.  And continue to visit and for toolkits, tip sheets, lesson plans and more.


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




Cities and towns throughout the US, Canada, and other locales will celebrate this week and throughout the month of October to raise awareness of cooking and kitchen safety to celebrate the 98th annual Fire Prevention Week (FPW).   Cooking remains the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and as COVID-19 restrictions have kept families in place, the need to assure safe cooking practices at home is critical.


So many communities have found innovative ways to reach their residents as traditional open houses and classroom presentations have been cancelled this year:  Kannapolis, NC Fire Department, home to our Educator of the Year Maria Bostian, is hosting a “Serving up fire safety with Flat Sparky” social media selfie event.  Bob Duvall, NFPA Regional Director, and Fire Chief of the volunteer Fire Department in Wauregan, Connecticut shares what they are doing in his hometown this year.  “We sent all the school kids home with FPW ‘swag’ and we will be doing a neighborhood Fire Prevention Week canvas/recruiting drive in the coming weeks, to distribute additional educational materials.”


The Firefighters Burn Institute of Sacramento, California partnered up with numerous organizations including their SafeKids Coalition, local Shriners Hospital, various Fire Departments a local pizza restaurant to host a Fire Prevention Week poster contest, complete with pizza party prizes!  In Duxbury, Massachusetts, the Fire Department collaborated with a video producer who donated her time to create a 3-D virtual tour of the station house in which viewers can feel like they are actually scaling the fire ladder.  


Saksatoon, Canada FD created numerous opportunities for participation including a Cooking Safely contest and Mountainview Rescue in Colorado created Youtube videos featuring truck tours, reading safety stories and pairing up with Sparky to teach kids the difference between toys and tools, educating children on items that are for adults only


Throughout it all, we’ve seen an amazing array of the use of social media by our community partners, whether creating their own posts or using NFPA’s Social Media Cards which are sized for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and available in English, Spanish, and French.   And the #firepreventionweek is on fire (in a good way!) with thousands of organizations promoting FPW.


Whether making videos for Youtube, partnering with local food pantries, restaurants, and places of worship, or organizing a fire truck parade, our shared goal remains:  to increase awareness of fire safety and to provide community members with the knowledge and tools they need to lead safe and healthy lives. 


My sincere thanks to all the fire and life safety educators, burn prevention professionals, school and community educators, and anyone who continues to help their communities to “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” during Fire Prevention Week and throughout the year.


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



Cooking safety is the focus of this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” for good reason: Cooking is the leading cause of U.S. home fires and injuries and the second-leading cause of fire fatalities. While everyone has been working diligently to better educate the public about common causes of home cooking fires and ways to prevent them, it’s also important to address smoke alarms and home escape planning when and where possible.


Keep these key points in mind when talking about smoke alarms, home escape planning and practice, as well as home fire sprinklers:


Smoke alarms: Smoke alarms are your first line of defense. Having working smoke alarms in your home reduces your risk of dying in a fire by 54 percent compared to in homes with no smoke alarms or alarms that aren’t working. Make sure smoke alarms are properly installed, tested and maintained, as follows:

  • NFPA requires at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button
  • Replace smoke alarm batteries when they begin to chirp, signaling that the batteries are running low.
  • Consider installing interconnected alarms, so that when one smoke alarm sounds, they all do.
  • Smoke alarms don’t last forever; replace them every 10 years or sooner if they’re not functioning properly.


Home escape planning and practice: Today’s homes burn 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. Using that time wisely is critical to safety from fire, but it takes planning and practice.


Developing a home fire escape plan with all members of your household and practicing it regularly, at least twice a year, helps ensure that everyone knows what to do when the smoke alarm sounds. A home escape plan includes the


  • Two ways out of every room, typically a door and a window
  • A path from each exit to the outside
  • A meeting place outside in front of the home where everyone will meet upon exiting
  • Everyone in the home knowing how to call the fire department once safely outside
  • Remembering that once you’re outside to stay out. Never go back inside a burning building


Use our home escape planning grid to help people create and practice a home escape plan.


Home fire sprinklers: The presence of home fire sprinklers can increase the chances of surviving a home fire by 87 percent. People age 65 and older are at the highest risk of dying in a home fire, while children, pets, and those with disabilities are also at increased risk.


While newer building techniques provided great benefits over the years, unprotected lightweight construction combined

with synthetic materials and open floor plans can result in fires that burn faster and at higher temperatures. Being alerted quickly with smoke alarms and controlling the fire as soon as it is detected with home fire sprinklers are an integral part of a home fire protection strategy, along with a practiced escape plan, can minimize the likelihood of tragedy that fires can incur.


Download our fact sheet to help spread the facts about the life-saving measures of home fire sprinkler systems. For more information, visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative webpage.


In support of Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10, NFPA and Domino’s teamed up to launch an online sweepstakes that worked to help people thank their local fire departments for all they do year-round to keep their communities safe. At a time when first responders have continued to serve on the frontlines of the pandemic, often putting their own health and safety at risk to help others, this effort was a fun but timely, important one.


Since the sweepstakes kicked off last month, some 200 nominations were submitted by individuals throughout the U.S. Following are the 15 randomly selected winners:


  • Pacolet Fire District| Pacolet, SD
  • Ellendale Volunteer Fire Company| Ellendale, DE
  • Painted Post Fire Department| Painted Post, NY
  • Woodlawn Fire Department| Allentown, PA
  • Chilhowie Fire Department| Chilhowie, VA
  • Bullhead City Fire Department| Bullhead City, AZ
  • City of Rocky Mount Fire Department| Rocky Mount, NC
  • Odenton Volunteer Fire Company| Odenton, MD
  • Poole Community Fire Department| Poole, KY
  • Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department| Kingsport, TN
  • Westport Fire Department| Westport, CT
  • Lansing Fire Department| Lansing, IL
  • City of Hackensack Fire Department| Hackensack, NJ
  • Canton Fire Department| Canton, MA
  • Manchester Volunteer Fire Department| Manchester, MD


Congratulations to all of you! A $100 eGift from Domino’s will delivered to your department soon. (For the few departments we have not been able to reach directly at the time of this posting, we will continue working to contact you.)


As you work to promote this year’s “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” messages in your community, use our cooking safety checklist as a tool for parents or caregivers to talk with children about safety in the kitchen. It’s a great resource for making sure entire households understand and follow basic but critical cooking safety practices. Encourage people to post it on a refrigerator, bulletin board, or even inside a kitchen cabinet – anywhere it can be easily reviewed when needed.


Here are some of the questions included in the checklist:

  • Does a grown-up always pay attention to things that are cooking?
  • Does a grown-up watch the stovetop when he or she is frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food?
  • If a grown-up must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, does he or she turns o‑ the burner?
  • Are things that can burn, such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, away from the stovetop?
  • Are the stovetop, burners, and oven clean — no spilled food, grease, paper or bags?
  • Are pot handles turned toward the back of the stove when a grown-up is cooking?
  • Do children and pets stay out of the kid-free zone (3 feet or 1 meter from the stove) when a grown-up is cooking?
  • Are containers opened slowly when removing from the microwave? Hot steam can escape from containers and cause burns.


The checklist has also been translated into Spanish and French.


We hope your Fire Prevention Week efforts are off to a great start! Remember to check out all the cooking safety resources we’ve provided this year! Also, please continue to share our social media posts to reach as many people as possible with this year’s cooking safety messages and keep up the amazing work!


With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing most people to adjust their routines, it comes as no surprise that this year’s Fire Prevention Week (FPW) will also look a bit different in many communities.


That doesn’t mean the campaign will have any less impact. If anything, the unique situation we are in has forced all of us to get creative and adopt a few innovative approaches that, I believe, will boost awareness and participation in FPW activities both this year and into the future.  


As Fire Prevention Week officially kicks off today, we all need to maximize the opportunity to promote this year’s theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!”. Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires in the US and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths. With most people forced to stay home, the number of us cooking at home has also increased, and fire departments across the country are anecdotally reporting an uptick in kitchen fire incidents. All this makes the campaign’s messages even more relevant and timely.


While the realities of COVID-19 made it apparent that most of our tried-and-true approaches to communicating FPW and its messaging—things like open houses at fire stations and school events—won’t occur, the importance of doing things differently to effectively reach the public with cooking safety messages is critical.


The fire and life safety community has been working diligently to rise to the occasion. One idea I heard about that I love is the drive-by fire-safety open house. Instead of inviting parents and kids into the fire station to see the trucks and get FPW material, why not bring the truck and material to them? Early in the pandemic, many fire departments took part in birthday parades and other celebrations in their communities; the drive-by event takes the idea a step further by handing out information along the route. Webinar participants suggested that departments could use community data to target the truck events at neighborhoods with higher numbers of fires.  


Another great idea is to develop and use a range of new community partnerships that could help spread the FPW message. For instance, local restaurants and food-delivery services could bring information directly into homes by including it on pizza boxes, putting it in grocery bags, or finding other ways to deliver handouts. Local theaters and event venues could include key messages on marquees to add to community visibility while providing an awesome backdrop for selfies worthy of social media sharing.


In addition to these methods, NFPA has developed digital assets to support this year’s FPW, including a full suite of sharable social media cards, as well as ramped-up, curriculum-based learning activities to teach and entertain young children, whether they are in a classroom or at home. We have also seen safety departments take the lead in creating their own digital assets and online contests to promote our theme of safe cooking behavior. They have also encouraged their staffs, family members, and communities to post their own photos, videos, and even TikTok dance moves that amplify our safety messages. In the week ahead (and beyond!), we encourage you to do the same when and where possible.


While FPW may be a little unconventional this year, the importance of our collective effort is the key to making our communities safer.

Home is where we feel safest from fire, but it’s also the place most home fires happen. Cooking fires in particular cause the most home fire injuries, with about 470 home cooking fires happening every day in 2018. Adults aged 65 and older are at the highest risk in a home fire. This year’s Fire Prevention week theme, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen,” is a great tool for reviewing kitchen-safe practices with all community members, and with NFPA’s Cooking mini-lesson, you can share safe cooking reminders with other adults in your community.


The best way to prepare for an emergency is to use multiple techniques to remember what to do and how to stay safe. To share these messages with a wider audience, consider getting a group together over video call or in an environment where people can socially distance, to complete this activity. Adult Cooking Mini-LessonThe Adult Mini-Lesson walks you through a small curriculum aimed at helping participants recognize unsafe kitchen behaviors and learn better practices that can help keep them safe.


Here are the main takeaways from the lesson that attendees will learn about safe cooking:

  • Stay alert
  • Watch what you heat
  • Keep things that can catch fire well away from heat sources
  • If you are on fire, stop, drop, and roll
  • If you have a fire, get out and stay out. Call 911 from outside


Simple choices like keeping an eye on what you’re cooking and wearing clothes that don’t dangle can significantly lower your risk of having a cooking fire. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. Visit for the resources you need to help keep your community safe. Let’s all Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!TM

A recent article in the Washington Post described a situation in which teachers were noticing the “chirping” sounds of smoke alarms in their students homes during virtual classes.  As the article notes, “And while the teachers heard it, the parents and students at the homes seemed so accustomed to the incessant noise that they didn’t notice it.”  That prompted the principal of a Washington D.C. elementary school to call his local Fire Department, as did numerous leaders of other schools.


The response from Tony Falwell, Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief of the D.C. fire department was one of action.  “As soon as you hear it, you need to address it,” Falwell said in an interview. “Because if you continue to ignore it, it just becomes background noise.”   Staff from his department began a campaign working with the schools and Parent-Teacher organizations to promote smoke alarm education to the families through the virtual learning platforms used for classroom-based education.  The campaign includes installation of smoke alarms in homes of families who cannot afford to buy them.   They even came up with a catchy slogan “When you hear the chirp - it’s time do the work.”


Fire and life safety education happens at all levels, and at all times, day or night.  What started out as addressing a distraction during remote learning, created a life-saving opportunity for families.  This October, as you “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen as part of your Fire Prevention Week efforts, make sure to include smoke alarms in your fire safety plan.


 Download NFPA’s Smoke Alarm Tip Sheet and NFPA’s Smoke alarms for deaf and hard of hearing people tip sheet to make sure you know what to do in your home.   And like they say in D.C., “When you hear the chirp – it’s time to do the work!”


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