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Smoke alarms can make the difference between life and death in a fire, but they have to be working. That’s a message the New York State legislature clearly understands. Last week, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation requiring all battery-operated smoke alarms sold in New York State be equipped with non-removable, 10-year batteries. Smoke_alarm

The bill, which is now pending Governor Cuomo's signature, prompted applause from Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) President Robert McConville. “As firefighters, we frequently encounter the horrific effects of fires in homes without working smoke alarms,” McConville said. “This bill makes New York State a safer place and will undoubtedly go a long way toward preventing future home fire deaths. We look forward to working with the Governor in the coming weeks to see this bill become law.”

NFPA requires a smoke alarm in each bedroom, near all sleeping areas and on every level of the home, including the basement, and smoke alarms should be tested monthly. For more information on smoke alarm safety, visit www.nfpa.org/smokealarms.

There’s no safe way to use consumer fireworks. If that sounds a bit Debbie Downer, we get it. Fireworks are festive and even mesmerizing at times. But take a look at these statistics, and our firm stance on fireworks safety starts to make a lot of sense:

Debbie Downer

  • On Independence Day in a typical year, fireworks account for two out of five of all reported U.S. fires, more than any other cause of fire.
  • Over 11,000 injuries resulted from consumer use of fireworks in 2013.
  • More than half of fireworks injuries in 2013 were to extremities, including the hand or finger, leg and arm. Most of the remaining injuries were to parts of the head, including the eye.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 2012 Fireworks Annual Report shows that two out of five people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15. The risk of fireworks injury was highest for the children under five, followed by children 10 to 14 years of age. Males accounted for 57 percent of the injuries overall.

So how can you celebrate the holiday safely? Attend professional fireworks displays put on by trained professionals. Let’s face it, they’re far more spectacular than anything you’d see in someone’s back yard. Even Debbie Downer would be hard-pressed to complain.

Check out our fireworks safety page for videos like the one below and infographics to learn just how dangerous consumer fireworks can be. More fireworks statistics can be found in our 2013 Fireworks Report.

NFPA and Domino’s are teaming up for the eighth year in a row to deliver fire safety messages and pizza during Fire Prevention Week, October 4 -10, 2015. To make this year’s campaign a success once again, we’re encouraging fire departments to join forces with their local Domino’s store and implement the program in their communities.

Domino's logo

Here’s how it works:

  • Select a day and time period (usually 1-3 hours) to randomly choose 1-3 pizza orders to deliver aboard a fire engine. The participating Domino’s delivery expert will follow in his or her car with the pizza order.
  • When the pizza delivery arrives at the customer’s home, the fire department will check the home for working smoke alarms. If the smoke alarms work, the customer's order is free. If the batteries are dead, the fire department will supply the customer with new batteries.

Partnering with Domino’s presents a fun and powerful way to reinforce the campaign’s fire safety messages, so we strongly encourage fire departments to get involved!

Domino’s Fire Prevention Week Sweepstakes

Fire departments that sign up between July 15 and August 1 to participate in the program will automatically be entered into Domino’s FPW Sweepstakes. Domino’s will randomly select five winners who will receive NFPA’s “Fire Prevention Week in a Box 300,” which includes:

  • 1 FPW banner (super-sized 10' x 4')
  • 45 FPW posters (17" x 24")
  • 300 adult FPW brochures
  • 300 kids FPW activity poster
  • 300 FPW stickers
  • 300 FPW magnets
  • 300 FPW news
  • 300 FPW bags

Sign Up to Participate!

If your fire department would like to participate in the NFPA and Domino’s Fire Prevention Week program, please email Dani Nicholl at dani.nicholl@dominos.com. Sign-up emails that are sent between July 15 and August 1 will be entered into the sweepstakes.  The Fire Prevention Week sweepstakes winners will be drawn on August 7 and announced soon after. 

This year's Fire Prevention Week theme is "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm." Visit www.firepreventionweek.org for a wealth of information and resources to help implement the campaign in your community.

 

Working smoke alarms in the home provide life-saving potential from fire. That’s a fact we all know well, and it’s one that’s been strongly promoted over the years.

But how often do we educate the public about where smoke alarms should be located in the home? More pointedly, how often are we promoting the importance of having a working smoke alarm in each bedroom?

Not often enough, according to an informal, online quiz we posted last year, which showed that less than half (42 percent) of approximately 36,000 respondents did not know that a smoke alarm should be installed in each bedroom of the home.

In an effort to better educate the public about this “sleepy” smoke alarm requirement, NFPA – the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years – announced “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm” as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, October 4-10, 2015. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®, requires a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Half of all U.S. home fire deaths occur at night between the hours of 11:00pm and 7:00am, when people are most likely to be sleeping. Having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half. These facts underscore the extreme importance of having working smoke alarms in all bedrooms.

NFPA will be teaming up with its Fire Prevention Week partners – USFA, Domino’s, The Home Depot, CVS Health, LEGOLAND® Florida and LEGOLAND® California to promote “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep: Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm” through a series of fun, engaging events and activities this fall. For more information about smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.

NFPA has been promoting fall and fire prevention for older adults through its Remembering When program since 1998. Over the past 17 years, we've trained approximately 300 local coalitions nationwide on how to implement the program locally. In turn, those coalitions have worked diligently to educate older adults in their communities about falls and fire prevention.

Remembering When

An recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Program dedicated to educating seniors reduces rate of falls and fires”, highlighted the efforts and impact of one such coalition in Blaine, Minnesota.

Becky Booker of the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds Fire Department, and Brian McDonald, an owner of Synergy Home Care, have completed 15 presentations that have reached some 300 people since they were trained by NFPA, with more presentations planned this spring.

According to the article, when Booker and McDonald visit a facility for the first time, about 90 percent of seniors usually ask for a walk-through of their home, where simple changes can make big differences in increasing their safety from falls and fires.

NFPA’s public education division will be hosting a Remembering When scholarship conference in Orlando, FL, this November. Details about the conference will be posted online later this month; visit www.nfpa.org/rememberingwhen for more information. 

 

“It’s still the same old story…”, so the song goes. In the case of working smoke alarms, the story is most often the same: smoke alarms save lives.


 

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In the case of a recent Burlington, ON, home fire, that life-saving story played out when the smoke alarm started sounding at about 8:30pm. Upon investigating, the family found both cars in the garage fully engulfed by fire, while flames had spread to the second floor and roof above the garage.


Damage to the home was extensive, estimated at $600,000, but no one was hurt. Without the proper warning from working smoke alarms, this injury-free incident easily could have been a deadly one.


“The residents of the home were first alerted to the fire by activated smoke alarms which allowed them time to evacuate safely, proving once again that smoke alarms do save lives,” stated the Burlington Fire Department’s news release.


Here's the “same old story” on smoke alarm installation and maintenance:


    • Make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and outside all sleeping areas.

    • Test smoke alarms monthly

    • Change the batteries when they begin to chirp, signaling that the battery is running low.

    • Replace smoke alarms every ten years.

For more smoke alarm information and advice, visit NFPA’s Smoke Alarm Central.</li> </ul>

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This past Saturday, a tragic fire swept through a Brooklyn, NY, home, killing seven siblings ages five to 16. Their mother and 15-year-old sister escaped by jumping from a second-floor window; both are in critical condition after suffering burns and smoke inhalation. The fire started when a hotplate in the kitchen malfunctioned.

According to FDNY firefighters, the home did not have working smoke alarms on the first floor where the fire started just after midnight, nor the second floor where the family was sleeping. By the time the mother awoke, she was unable to get to her children.

“The mother would have had to go into the fire to get to the back bedrooms, so I think she tried, although badly burned, to get out and get help for her children”, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “She was very brave.”

The details of this incident are simply heart-wrenching. Like many other deadly home fires that occur in the U.S. each year, a common thread remains: the smoke alarms are missing or not working.

For all of us who work in the world of fire safety, the importance of smoke alarms is well understood. This incident underscores the fact that we still have a lot more to do in educating the public about their life-saving value.

The FDNY clearly recognized this as well, distributing pamphlets about smoke alarms, along with cooking safety tips, on Saturday afternoon in the Brooklyn neighborhood where the fire occurred.

Working smoke alarms ultimately saved the lives a Charlottesville, NC, woman and her two daughters, but a delayed response to the alarms contributed to a dramatic escape. Here’s a brief overview of what happened: Kitchen towel

A kitchen towel was accidentally ignited by a candle in the kitchen, triggering the smoke alarm to sound. After believing the towel was extinguished, the mother went upstairs with her two daughters, one of whom was an infant. When the smoke alarm began to sound again, she assumed that the residual smoke had set it off. By the time she investigated further, the fire had spread to piles of laundry in the kitchen and smoke conditions had banked down to the floor.

StairsIn an effort to escape their home, the mother returned upstairs, took her two daughters into a front bedroom, and closed the door behind them. Using a window over the front porch to escape, the infant daughter was lowered to neighbors with a bed sheet. When the fire department arrived, the older girl was in the process of being lowered to neighbors. The mother was brought down by the department’s ground ladder.

We so often focus on the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home, which, of course, is vital to fire safety. But when a smoke alarm sounds, it needs to be taken seriously and responded to with a sense of urgency. That’s another message we need to keep communicating publicly. Fortunately in this case, when the mom realized there was a fire in her home, she took appropriate steps to protect herself and her daughters.

Clock
NFPA and Domino's have teamed up once again to help people protect themselves and their loved ones from home fires. Using daylight savings time and pizza boxes, we’re working together to encourage the public to change their batteries when they change their clocks this weekend. (Daylight savings time is Sunday, March 8, at 2 a.m.) Domino's logo

Domino’s is using its pizza boxes to deliver fire safety tips throughout the month of March in participating markets across the country.

“Daylight saving time brings a convenient, timely reminder to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, which is an easy, important step to make your home safer,” said Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s Pizza spokesperson. “Domino’s has a great opportunity to reach many people in their homes and we want to use it to share fire safety tips with them. We are excited to work with the NFPA to help make homes across the country a little bit safer.”

As part of the spring campaign, customers who order from participating Domino’s stores may be surprised when their delivery arrives aboard a fire engine. If all the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If a smoke alarm is not working, the firefighters will replace the batteries or leave a fully functioning smoke alarm in the home.

For more information on smoke alarm installation, testing and maintenance, visit our Smoke Alarm Central page.

A family of eight was able to safely escape an overnight fire in their Phoenix, AZ, home this past weekend, thanks to working smoke alarms. According to local reports, the fire was started by unattended cooking on the stove, which caused significant damage to the home’s kitchen and attic.

“We’re just glad that everybody is o.k.,” said Alaina McLittle, who lived in the home. “You can always replace a house, but you can’t replace lives.”

Sadly, this sentiment was underscored by a home fire that occurred in Greensville, SC, last Friday, which claimed the life of 75-year-old Mark Walker. Firefighters were unable to detect any evidence of a smoke alarm in the home, where Walker lived alone. An autopsy revealed that he died from smoke inhalation and heat related injuries.

As reinforced by these two incidents, working smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a home fire. That’s why it’s so important to follow these basic smoke alarm guidelines:

  • Install one smoke alarm on every level of the home, in every bedroom and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarm image for typepad
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • For smoke alarms that include a 10-year, non-replaceable battery, replace the entire smoke alarm if it begins to “chirp”, indicating that the battery is running low. For smoke alarms that use regular batteries, either replace them annually, or before then if they begin to chirp.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they don’t respond properly when tested.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.

For more information on smoke alarm installation, testing and maintenance, visit Smoke Alarm Central, NFPA's complete source for smoke alarm information.

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Hayden Sather, 6, with Grande Prairie Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Schwabe, who&#39;d taught the Learn Not to Burn program to Hayden and his Kindergarten classmates.

 

Six-year-old Hayden Sather and his family were sitting down to lunch at his grandparents’ Alberta, Canada, home when the smoke alarms started to sound and they saw smoke at the front of the house. That’s when Hayden promptly directed his twelve-year-old sister outside, a behavior he’d learned through NFPA’s +Learn Not to Burn+ program.


“I just saw smoke coming at the front door window and I didn’t know what happened. Then I…quickly got my boots on and stayed outside with my sister,” said Hayden.


The fire department was called and Hayden’s father ran outside to try to put out the fire, which reportedly started when a cigarette was discarded in an outside garbage can; the other adults rushed to round up the two cats and the dog. Hayden, meanwhile, snapped into action.


“I put on my boots and went outside and stayed calm,” he said. After meeting up with his mom outside, he told her that she shouldn’t go back in the house.


 

Hayden&#39;s family was proud of him and impressed by his ability to stay cool under pressure. When they asked him how he knew what to do in a fire, he told them about Grande Prairie Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Schwabe, who’d spent a day with his Kindergarten class to teach +Learn Not to Burn+.


 

Each year, Grande Prairie Fire Prevention hosts the program in partnership with the local Burn Society, targeting students in Kindergarten and Grade 2, with Officer Schwabe at the helm.


“It’s exciting to know Hayden did the right things,” said Schwabe. “Hayden kept his sister calm, Hayden told his mom not to go back inside – all the things that we’re teaching.”


 

+Learn Not to Burn+&#0160;has served as the pillar of NFPA  educational programs for more than 40 years, reaching children with proven educational strategies that incorporate NFPA’s philosophy of teaching positive, practical fire safety messaging.</p>

 

The gifts have been opened, the ornaments are starting to sag, and the fallen pine needles are multiplying daily – these are clear signs that it’s time to remove the Christmas tree and other holiday decorations from your home.

Christmas trees are flammable objects. The longer they’re in your home, the more they dry out, making them a significant fire hazard.

Nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although these fires aren’t common, when they do occur, they’re more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, as compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.

While many people choose to keep their Christmas trees and holiday decorations up for a few weeks after the holidays, the continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out trees presents increased fire risks.

For recommendations on safely disposing of your Christmas tree, along with tips for safely putting away holiday decorations, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires”, NFPA’s campaign with the United States Fire Administration (USFA).

 

Christmas trees are a festive emblem of the holiday season, but they also present a potential fire risk in the home.

Although Christmas tree fires aren’t particularly common, when they do occur, they are likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires. One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

In addition, Christmas trees are flammable objects. The longer they remain in the home, the more dried out they become, making them increasingly hazardous.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Christmas tree fires are preventable with some simple safety precautions. The video above demonstrates easy ways to safely enjoy a Christmas tree in your home this holiday season.

You can also visit our "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires" section, which offers a wealth of tips and recommendatinos for keeping fire-safe during this holiday season and all winter long.

“What’s the difference between ‘Put a Freeze on Winter Fires’ and ‘Project Holiday’?” That’s the question a few people have recently asked, and it’s one that’s worth clarifying, since there are some key differences between the two programs (as well as some crossover). WinterFreeze14Banner

Our “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with USFA promotes winter fire safety directly to the public, addressing the leading causes of fires and other hazards during the colder months and holiday season. This includes home heating, cooking, holiday decorating and carbon monoxide poisoning. The campaign runs from November through March, and features regular updates on both organizations’ websites.

Project Holiday banner“Project Holiday” - a program that’s hosted each year by our Public Education division - works to communicate holiday fire safety messaging through local fire departments. It provides a wide range of resources and information for fire departments to promote holiday-related fire safety in their communities. Materials include sample news releases, media advisories, and letters to the editor. “Project Holiday” also features a parent page with suggested family activities, along with age-appropriate games and activities for kids.

What “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” and “Project Holiday” have in common is a commitment to educating the public about simple ways to stay safe from fire this holiday season. Check out both programs to find a wealth of related tips, information and resources.

 

Holiday decorations are a hallmark of the season, but many of them carry potential fire hazards that can quickly turn a festive time of year into a tragic one.

As you deck your halls this holiday season, make sure to keep fire safety in mind. Home candle and decoration fires peak in December, with nearly half of all holiday decoration fires occurring because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

Two out of every five home decoration fires are started by candles. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are the top three days of the year for candle fires.

Christmas trees also present a potential fire hazard in the home; one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

Although Christmas tree fires aren’t particularly common, when they do occur, they are likely to be serious. Between 2007 and 2011, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires in that time.

Our “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with USFA offers a host of tips and recommendations on holiday decorating, and for keeping fire-safe throughout the winter season. Make sure to check them out!

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