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Happy Birthday to Sparky!

Posted by vholub Employee Mar 18, 2019

                                                                                               

 

Everybody’s favorite fire safety dog, Sparky, celebrates his 68th birthday today. Since 1951, Sparky has helped fire professionals, teachers, civic organizations, corporations, youth programs, and the media deliver invaluable messages about smoke alarms, escape planning, and seasonal safety considerations.

 

In honor of NFPA’s top dog teaching children and adults alike about fire and life safety for six-plus decades, we are highlighting Sparky’s journey and the different resources that have been developed to educate generations about fire prevention.

 

We start Sparky’s weeklong celebration by inviting you to read how he became America’s iconic fire dog in a storybook, “The Story of Sparky, The Fire Dog,” and by showing you a timeline of his life. As Sparky blows out the battery operated candles on his birthday cake, we ask that you take note of important fire and life safety messages, including:

  • Install working smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of each level of the home. Show all doors and windows and point to the two ways out of each room.
  • Plan and practice your escape drill with everyone in the home.

 

We have also created a visual walk down memory lane for you to enjoy and share with other Sparky fans. Check it out.

It’s a topic that’s made news headlines and is on the minds of many: how to keep schools safe and secure in the face of mass shootings in the United States. As school administrators and community officials work to protect schools from acts of targeted violence, the School Safety and Security Update fact sheet helps answer frequently asked questions and provides guidance on safe door locking. The fact sheet explains NFPAs current provisions and how they can be safely applied. On the more general topic of safety in public venues, the Safety in Places of Public Assembly tip sheet offers guidance for staying safe in the face of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or some other type of disaster or crisis. The tips sheet offers advice before entering a building, when you enter, and what to do during an emergency.

               NFPA tip sheet safety in public places           

City of Kingsport Fire Department Public Education Officer Barry Brickey has been chosen the 2019 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Brickey has been using NFPA’s Learn Not to Burn® program in the city’s elementary schools since 2006. He has also used NFPAs Remembering When™ program since 2010.

In 2006 he developed a billboard campaign themed with Fire Prevention Week slogans and home fire sprinkler messaging. The Kingsport Fire Department partnered with the state fire marshal’s office for a smoke alarm billboard in October 2018.

In 2011 Brickey won a contest to become the voice of Sparky the Fire Dog for NFPAs “Sparky and the Runaway Robot” and to celebrate Sparky’s birthday. For Fire Prevention Week that year, Brickey participated in a national radio media tour as the voice of Sparky.

He worked with the Holsten Valley Trauma Center Injury Prevention, the Kingsport Police and Contact 211 of Northeast Tennessee, to help reduce call numbers at a high-volume apartment complex.

He is the recipient of the 2006 Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Educator of the Year and the 2018 Tennessee Public Fire Educators Association Bruce Womack Fire Educator of the Year award.

Barry Brickey NFPA 2019 fire and life safety educator of the year

Airbnb and other peer-to-peer hospitality services and vacation rentals are not regulated the same way as hotels. Requirements vary across jurisdictions. Our new checklist can guide you on how to be your own safety advocate before you commit to a rental and after you've settled in.

airbnb safety tips

National Burn Awareness Week, February 3-9, is an opportunity for organizations to mobilize in sharing burn awareness and prevention messaging. Each year, the American Burn Associationdevelops educational resources to assist burn survivor groups, and public safety and public education professionals to provide information to the public. Scald is this year’s theme.
According to NFPA, most fire-related injuries are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds someone in the United States sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment.
American Burn Association statistics show that each day more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms and two children die from burn injuries. ABA provides template proclamations, social media posts and an infographic. NFPA’s Burn Awareness pageincludes videos, scald prevention tip sheets, a toolkit for educators, a technical article, and children’s activity sheets.
Each year, NFPA bestows the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year award on an educator who works for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office in the U.S. or Canada and uses NFPA's materials in consistent and creative ways. The recipient demonstrates excellence and innovation in reaching out to the community, and views NFPA as the leading source for fire safety information. Only weeks remain to submit an applicationfor this year’s award. The deadline is Friday, February 15th, 2019.
Denise Hynes, public educator for Toronto Fire Services, was chosen for the 2018 award. She has been using NFPA programs and materials since 2002. She works in the fifth largest fire department in North America, in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and serves a population of nearly three million residents. Her colleagues describe her as a tireless educator who has an unbelievable passion and enthusiasm for her job.
As her award year came to a close, Hynes spoke with me about her experience.
LB:Congratulations again, Denise, for being chosen for this award last year. What were your thoughts when you found out an application was being submitted on your behalf?
DH:When my division chief advised he was submitting my name for the 2018 NFPA Educator of the Year, my first reaction was "Please don't!” As we all know, nothing in the fire service is about one person–it's all about working together as a team. Upon hearing we were chosen, I was so proud to be able to accept on behalf of ALL of the women and men of Toronto Fire Services who strive to educate as our first line of defense.
LB:What are some of your highlights from the past year?
DH:What a year!! Being presented with the NFPA Award in Las Vegas by retired Toronto Fire Services Fire Chief William Stewart; presenting on our programming to a full house at the Conference & Expo; receiving requests to present at fire services across North America; participating in an NFPA webinar; donating the honorarium to Camp BUCKO, a burn camp for children; meeting wonderful people who have become friends; and receiving messages of congratulations from my peers are just a few of the amazing things resulting from the award.   
LB: Did you have any “I have to pinch myself” moments in connection to receiving the award?
DH: In late 2018, I was honored to be asked to drop the puck at a Toronto Marlie's hockey game, and I was part of a smoke/CO Alarm education campaign with one of my original all-star hockey heroes and two of our current star players! 
LB:Wow! What a year. Is there anything you’d like to add?
DH: It has been an unbelievable, amazing and rewarding year–and a real career topper as I enter my 30th year of service. Thank you NFPA–for the honor, the amazing support over the years, for giving Canada Laura King, [NFPA Canada Public Education Representative]and sending me on my first trip to Las Vegas; I got to see the Grand Canyon and gained a first-hand appreciation of the world famous "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!" tag line. 
Last week, flames ripped through Southside Christian Childcare in Louisville, Kentucky. According to news reports, the employees were able to get all of the children out and into a nearby Home Depot building while firefighters fought the flames.
The fire departmentcredited the employees with saving the children’s lives and stated that the child-care organization’s leadership and accountability are a reflection of a well-practiced fire escape plan.
“The police department’s message is ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ Our message is to have a fire safety plan,” said Jefferson County Fire spokesman Jordan Yuodis earlier this week. “Today is a good example of a fire escape plan and it saved lives.”
All employees received a certificate of appreciation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

As the old saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas! In December, Operation Save a Life worked with Dallas Fire and Rescue to reach at-risk homes with smoke alarm installations. At the after-school event held in the Dallas area, families were able to sign up to have their smoke alarms checked and new ones installed if they needed them. As always, Sparky entertained the kids with his many music videos and
educational videos.
This event was a great ending to 2018 but more so a big beginning for the
Public Education Division at Dallas Fire and Rescue. This year the educatorsOperation Save a Life event held in Dallas Texas at the end of the year was a great way to wrap up the year but also boost work for 2019.
are out getting training, redesigning plans, and reaching more audiences. Fire marshals and educators across Texas will be attending the
North Texas FireMarshal Association Conferencein the coming weeks. They
will be learning about
educational messaging,the latest technology
updates, and how to stay current. It might only be January but Texas is heating up with all the fire prevention activities that are kicking off 2019.

E-cigarette warningElectronic cigarettes, powered by lithium-ion batteries, have ignited or exploded, resulting in severe injuries, including third degree burns, lacerations and loss of body parts. According to a study by George Mason University, injuries have been underestimated by federal agencies. A new report, published in Tobacco Control, found that there are far more e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries in the United States than past reports estimated. 
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found an estimated 2,035 emergency department visits from e-cigarette explosions and burn injuries from 2015 to 2017, which is thought to be an underestimate since not all of the injured seek medical treatment.
The report warns that users and bystanders risk serious bodily injury from unregulated e-cigarette batteries exploding.
NFPA’s safety tip sheet on smoking safetyand the Educational Messages Desk Referenceinclude warnings about the use of e-cigarettes.
Only weeks remain to submit an applicationfor the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award. The deadline is Friday, February 15th, 2019. NFPA is looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States and Canada who have these qualifications:
· Work for a local/municipal 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.
The Educator of the Year receives a $1,000 honorarium, travel to NFPA Conference and Expo in San Antonio in June for an award presentation, paid conference registration, and an engraved Sparky® statue.
The local fire department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities.NFPA Educator of the Year statue

As I was driving home last night, I was a little surprised to see how many homes still have Christmas trees inside. I get it – it’s tough to say goodbye to the season and pack away the decorations. But there’s good reason to part ways with your Christmas tree once the holidays are over: One-third (33 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January.


Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry. The longer a tree is in the home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes. Sure, all Christmas trees can burn, but a dried out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds. The tragic Christmas tree fires that have occurred in recent years, which have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children, gravely bare this out.


NFPA statistics show that Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do occur, they’re much more likely to be serious. On annual average, one of every 45 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to one death per 139 total reported home structure fires.

 

NFPA recommends using the local community’s recycling program for tree disposal, if possible; trees should not be put in the garage or left outside. We also offer these tips for safely removing lighting and decorations and storing them properly to ensure that they’re in good condition the following season:

 

  • Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.
  • As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.

 

For more information on home fire safety all winter long, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires,” a winter safety campaign NFPA promotes annually with the U.S. Fire Administration.

At a recent NFPA update for new fire and life safety educators, I gave the challenge to conduct a home fire drill with your family at night. With the busyness of the holidays and a to do list a mile long, we talked about the importance of having an escape plan for your entire family.  We had a lively discussion about family that will be visiting, road trips staying inhotels and motels as well as holiday food which led to cooking safety. Winter holiday safety can include decorating and entertaining with safety in mind. Two days after the class I got an email with the photo from this local fire marshals family. He made sure that his wife and baby were safe by practicing one cold night. His email simply said thanks for MAKING us do the plan.  Now onto the presents and holiday fun this Christmas season. 

Over 200 public education and community risk reduction specialists from 14 states gathered in Edison, New Jersey this week to hear from a variety of subject matter experts from across nine states at the Mid-Atlantic Safety Summit.  Topics included; the ABC's of Public Education Messaging, an update on NPFA 3000, the Remembering When Program, an overview of Regional data, and model programs from the Mid-Atlantic Region. Charles Lavin, from the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, encouraged attendees to take advantage of the networking opportunity at the event as well, noting that the concept for this Summit came out of a similar setting this past June at NFPA's Conference and Expo.

Pictured (L to R) Charles Lavin NJDFS Community Risk Reduction Unit. Meredith Hawse Pub Ed Specialist, NFPA, Richard Mikutsky, Director NJDFS and NJ State Fire Marshal, Kevin Krushinski, Chairman, NJ Fire Safety Commission.

Infographic including winter themes and fire safety tips

NFPA has teamed up once again with the U.S. Fire Administration for the “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign to help remind everyone that the winter months are the leading time of year for home fires. The updated infographics, available in English and Spanish include safety tips on cooking, heating, candles, and holiday decorating and can be used as handouts, social media posts, or displayed on bulletin boards. The infographics are among the many items provided this season on holiday safety.

Headshot of Lisa Braxton on a facebook pageIf you’re interested in learning more about how NFPA’s educational messaging is created, how to use the Educational Messages Desk Reference, and details on the newest additions to the document, then you’ll want to listen to an interview in which I was the guest on CRR radio. Ed Comeau, a former fire investigator whose firm, Writer-Tech.com publishes the monthly newsletter Campus Firewatch, conducted the interview. The 2018 edition of the Educational Messages Desk Reference for the Fire Service and Fire and Life Safety Educators has 27 chapters of burn and fire safety messaging and includes sections tailored to young audiences and individuals with limited English proficiency.

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