Monthly Archives

October 2020

Hoarding: From Enforcement to Engagement

By Fire Safety, NFPA



    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. is just one of the four expert-developed workshops featured in the2020, 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. 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 registrantsso 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   and  to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA.

Local Utah Fire Department Service Project Reminds Us About the Value of Collaboration and the Importance of Safety During Fire …

By Fire Safety, NFPA

Earlier this month, NFPA learned about a  that embodies the true spirit of collaboration as it relates to fire and life safety.The story takes place in Draper, Utah where the  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.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  (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  campaign, and get tips and resources to help keep your family safe from fire by visiting .

Face-to-face Education Programs are Rapidly Becoming a Thing of the Past. Now What?

By Fire Safety, NFPA





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.  is just one of the four expert-developed workshops featured in the2020, virtual conference, taking place Tuesday, October 27th from 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM EST.  Thisdynamic 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 Holly 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.  (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 registrantsso 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   and  to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division at NFPA. 

When Being a “Frequent Flyer” Isn’t a Good Thing: Reducing Falls Among Older Adults

By Fire Safety, NFPA

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 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, 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.”
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 registrantsso if you have to step away from your computer, you won’t miss a thing. Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and follow NFPA on 

Twitter



From a Week of Celebrating Fire Safety to Year-Round Fire & Life Safety Education

By Fire Safety, NFPA




Fire Prevention Week
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(FPW) is celebrated once a year in the beginning of October to raise awareness of fire safety, and all month longwe’ll continue to see communities engaged in a variety of activities to help reduce the, 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’sfirst 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.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   and  to keep up with the latest in fire and life safety education. 

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