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.