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June 2015

NFPA Public Education Division adds a regional specialist

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JeffDonahueNFPA has a new employee in the Public Education Division serving as regional education specialist for the Western United States. Jeff Donahue has more than 30 years’ experience in the fire service and most recently was division chief/fire marshal for the City of Reno Fire Department, where he managed all services and activities of the Fire Prevention Division. In addition, he worked on improving processes and procedures for the Fire Prevention Division that had been subject to reductions in the workforce. He also helped develop in-house staff management and leadership skills.

Jeff has worked closely with NFPA as a board member of the International Fire Marshals Association, most recently as first vice president and chapter committee chair.

He is the third regional specialist NFPA has hired in recent months. Meredith Hawes covers the central region and Mid-Atlantic States and Kelly Ransdell covers the Southern United States and New England Region.

The Public Education Regional Specialists work remotely and are responsible for promoting the use of NFPA fire safety education materials at the state and local levels. They serve in an ambassadorial role for the association on a regional level by being spokespersons for all NFPA public education and advocacy initiatives, and provide an NFPA presence for fire departments in the region while coordinating field activities with Association staff.

Fire Prevention Week banner gets plenty of mileage in New York State community

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FPW Banner 2015

The Fire Prevention Week banner gets a lot of exposure in Whitesboro, New York. The Whitesboro Fire Department purchases one for each school in the district and presents it to school principals, who hang it in the schools for an entire year. The fire department also purchases a banner for the fire station and displays it throughout October. The banner is also carried during the Fire Prevention Parade.

I’d like to hear from you. What are your favorite Fire Prevention Week resources and how does your department use them?

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House fire caused by frying oil on stove

By | Fire Safety, NFPA | No Comments

A story out of Arizona this week can easily make you stop and think, "Wow, this could happen to me, too."  

Fire officials responded to a house fire that started from hot cooking oil. According to the story on Tusconlocalmedia.com, the occupant of the house was heating up oil to make french fries. When he dropped the frozen fries into the hot oil, a flash fire occurred that spread to the cabinets and plastic hood area of the stove.  Cooking oil

After he was unable to put out the fire, the man called 9-1-1 and had to quickly evacuate the home. Thankfully, fire crews on the scene put out the fire quickly and no one was injured, but the residents will now be displaced for some time as the house gets repaired.

Making french fries seems like a relatively easy thing to do and many of us have made them at one time or another. But fire officials have warned that frozen fries have a high water/moisture content, which does not mix well with hot oil. Some tips to keep in mind when frying with oil:

  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.

Before you create your next great meal, take a few minutes and review some important tips related to cooking and cooking with oil on NFPA's cooking fire safety webpage, and share them with the ones you love!

Fire department in Iowa makes Fire Prevention Week memorable for the kids

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Truck Pulls up to house

Sparky’s® Coloring Book is a big hit with the children of Nevada, Iowa. That’s because a coloring activity conducted during Fire Prevention Week offers them the possibility of a visit to their favorite restaurant and a ride to school in a fire truck.

Last year, the Nevada Fire Department, in partnership with the Nevada Community School District, In booth at McDonald'ssponsored a coloring contest using a page from Sparky’s Coloring Book. Close to 400 kids in grades 1 through 5 at Central Elementary School participated. Seven winners were chosen. A fire truck pulled up to their homes and they were taken to McDonald’s restaurant on their way to school for a free cookie and juice.

“Many times the kids do not tell their parents about the contest,” says Nevada Fire Department Director of Fire and EMS Ray Reynolds. “I am not sure who screams the loudest, the kids or the mothers. We do it all in the same day and it caps off our FPW activities with a good feeling for everyone.”

He says that during Fire Prevention Week firefighters speak to individual classrooms for 40 minutes about “get low and go” under smoke, smoke alarm awareness, drawing an escape plan, seeing firefighters as community helpers, and other safety Sparky's Coloring Bookslessons. He says the coloring activity and the potential of riding in style aboard a fire truck help to reinforce the safety messaging.

“I have had so many experiences where kids have survived a fire using techniques the fire department taught them,” says Reynolds. “If you are selected to ride to school in a fire engine, you are more likely to remember what the fire department taught. Months later, I still get kids that say, ‘I remember you in the school teaching.’ ”

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North Carolina principal seriously burned from propane grill at senior picnic

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Some sad news out of North Carolina. The principal at a high school in Fayetteville suffered third-degree burns recently when the propane grill he was preparing malfunctioned and caught fire hours before the school's senior picnic.

According to WRAL.com out of Raleigh/Durham, the principal, who plans the cookout each year before graduation, was trying to light one of the propane grills at a nearby park where the party was being held and was having a problem getting it started. As he tried to light the grill, the fumes that had built up inside ignited when he opened the lid. Fortunately no one else was injured at the scene. Our thoughts are with this principal; we hope he makes a full recovery soon. 

This story reminds us that during the spring and summer, cookouts and BBQs will continue to play a large role in graduation, birthday and pool parties. So before your special event, take a look at our latest grilling fire safety video. It's short, and it addresses some of the key misconceptions of grilling including how to safely turn your grill on and off, and what to do when it doesn't ignite properly. Think you know? Watch below. You might be surprised by what you learn: 

 

If you own a gas grill, you might also be interested in our short video below that specifically addresses the proper way to test your grill for gas leaks before use. Watch it as a refresher before your next event.

 

After you've watched the videos and throughout the season, as you prepare to light up your grill, consider the following:

  • Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors only
  • Place the grill well away from your home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Put safety rules for kids in place. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area
  • Clean your grill often, removing any grease or fat buildup from the grates and in the trays below
  • Stay next to your grill at all times while cooking; never leave the area unattended

For more grilling and food safety ideas, check out our cooking fire safety page and enjoy your next great meal safely with friends and family!

In June issue of Safety Source: launch of Fire Prevention Week 2015, new American Sign Language video & more

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Safety Source JuneThe June issue of Safety Source, NFPA's public education enewsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you will find;  

  • The launch of Fire Prevention Week 2015
  • New American Sign Language video
  • NFPA teams up with Domino's
  • Firework safety tip sheet
  • Educators and behavior change
  • New gas grill safety video
  • Family's escape story featured on PBS Kids

Don't miss an issue! Sign up now and be the first to get the latest information on happenings in the public education division, activities, fire statistics, trends, educational tips, Sparky the Fire Dog® and more.

A grand slam day for fire safety in Ontario

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Sparky and Ace on the field

Framed Cards photo cropped

More than 40,000 school-age children across greater Toronto and Ontario waved their fire safety banners at the special home game yesterday of the Toronto Blue Jays marked as “Fire Safety Day.” The event took place as part of the fifth annual “Swing into Summer Safety” campaign conducted by the Fire Marshal’s Fire Public Safety Council in partnership with the Toronto Fire Services, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The first 25,000 kids to attend received a special edition baseball collector card deck, showcasing their favorite Toronto Blue Jays players with fire safety tips included. Pre-game activities also included getting to hang out with firefighters, Sparky the Fire Dog®, and Ace, the Toronto Blue Jays mascot.

Five fire departments from different areas of Ontario hosted a kickoff at the same time as the launch at Rogers Centre: Huron Shores Fire Department, Fire Department of North Huron, Prince Edward County Fire Department, Timmins Fire Department, and Welland Fire and Emergency Services.

The day was capped off with a win by Toronto. The team beat the Miami Marlins, 7 to 2.

"The Council is most grateful to the Toronto Blue Jays and NFPA for their support of this very worthwhile, summer-long fire safety initiative,” said NFPA Public Education Field Advisor for Canada, Art Pullan, pictured above, right with executives from the energy delivery company, Enbridge, one of the campaign’s sponsors, and Chief Lee Grant of the Oakville, Ontario Fire Department. “Together Sparky and Ace bring a fun element to delivering important lifesaving messages to young children throughout Ontario.”

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Fire department grant recipient is well on its way to reaching goal

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NSFR Plaque 81-87  (3)

The North Shore Fire Department in Wisconsin, recipient of the 2015 Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant, is more than halfway to its goal of conducting home safety assessments as part of its “Prevent, Prepare, and React” campaign. So far, 72 of 125 assessments have been completed.

A risk analysis of the seven communities the fire department serves showed that the percentage of adults 65 and over was above the national average. In 2014, NFPA awarded the fire department and local health department training through the Remembering When™ Conference to administer fire and fall prevention education to older adults. Since then, the team presented Remembering When to more than 300 residents and conducted 28 home assessments. Data compiled during the assessments showed that none of the homes had properly fitted smoke alarms.

North Shore received a grant from Wal-Mart to purchase 100 ten-year smoke alarms. Most have been installed. In addition to providing support for the 125 home safety assessments, The Rolf Jensen Grant is being used to purchase close to 300 smoke alarms to be installed.

The grant provides $5,000 to one local fire department annually to support a community-wide fire and life safety education program or campaign.

“We’re fired up about this program and are out making a difference every day thanks to NFPA,” says North Shore Battalion Chief John Maydak, pictured above at left with Chief Robert Whitaker.

Related articles

Partner with NFPA and Domino’s for Fire Prevention Week!

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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.

NFPA and Stop & Shop team up to promote healthy, safe grilling season

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NFPA and Stop & Shop New England Division are teaming up to promote a healthy, safe grilling season aimed at helping ensure an enjoyable summer for all and one that reduces the risk of grilling fires.  S & S

Three out of five households own a gas grill, according to NFPA’s "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment," report, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. Each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While nearly half of the people who grill do so year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by May, June and August.

This summer, participating Stop & Shop stores in New England will reinforce grilling fire safety messages as well as provide tips for preparing healthy meals with events on Cape Cod and in Rhode Island. Stay tuned for more information about these events. If you're in the area, we hope to see you there!

For more information about grilling fire safety and additional tips and resources, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling.