Sparky's 60th Birthday

Iconic NFPA mascot celebrates milestone birthday

Sparky the Fire Dog®, the official mascot of NFPA, observed his 60th birthday in March 2011, but we celebrated all year long! Sparky, created in 1951 for an Advertising Council campaign, has always been an influential figure in fire prevention, and his success can be attributed to collaboration with firefighters and others to educate the public on important prevention and safety messages. In addition to connecting with the public through public service announcements, Sparky has a featured role in NFPA's Fire Prevention Week campaign each October.

Activities during Sparky's year-long birthday celebration

Sparky hits Madison Avenue

Sparky headed down to Madison Avenue in New York where he was recognized as one of the country’s top-notch mascots in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame contest. The public was able to vote for their favorite icon in September. All of the nominees, inluding Sparky, Smokey Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, AOL Running Man, and Mr. Peanut, participated in the parade.

Sparky meets the Cake Boss team

In celebration of Sparky's 60th birthday, Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (home of TLC's "Cake Boss"), made a special cake. Sparky visited the bakery on June 7 to to meet the staff, including Joe and Grace, two stars of the TV program. Sparky also visited the Hoboken Fire Department, where he presented firefighters with the official banner for the 2011 Fire Prevention Week campaign. More photos of Sparky's roadtrip to New Jersey.

Our "do it yourself" Sparky party kit

Everything you need to throw a Sparky party! These free party plans include pages of tutorials and instructions. It's everything you'll need, and we'll walk you through from making party hats to playing pin the badge on Sparky. And after the party, send your guests home with their own Sparky goodie bag. Video: Watch a Sparky party in action!

Wander through our Sparky museum

See NFPA's mascot through the ages. Ever wonder what the birthday dog looked like in 1951? This interactive adventure will take you through the history of Sparky from the first ever image of him to the dog he is today in 2011! There is also a fun game for kids hidden in the gallery walls.

Did you have your photo taken with Sparky® in Boston?

Hundreds of attendees at the NFPA Conference & Expo in June posed for a photo with our fire safety mascot. We've posted some photos on our blog for everyone to enjoy! Video: More Sparky activities at NFPA's conference.

Winners of Sparky's "College Fire Safety Video Contest" announced

Sparky teamed up with The Center for Campus Fire Safety and asked college students to submit video public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting the importance of fire safety during Campus Fire Safety Month (September).

Based on votes from the public, the following three students received gift cards for their efforts: Andy Nguyen of Columbia University came in first with his video “College Fire Safety Tips”; Katelyn Watkinson of Vancouver Island University came in second with her entry “Adults Need Fire Safety Too”; and Anthony Gentles of Northeastern University placed third with his “Fire Prevention Video.”

Barry Brickey is the new "Voice of Sparky®"

Barry Brickey, a public education officer for the Kingsport (TN) Fire Department, has been selected as the new "Voice of Sparky®". He received an authentic Sparky the Fire Dog® costume, a trip to Boston to record for the NFPA Fire Prevention Week video, and a selection of NFPA public education materials. Career firefighters, volunteer firefighters or other fire department employees were invited to submit videos of themselves giving their best Sparky impersonation. NFPA received two dozen videos, and a panel of judges selected three finalists based on the best representation of Sparky's voice, as well as the creativity and enthusiasm used in the creation of the video. Read more about Barry Brickey and the "Voice of Sparky" contest.


NFPA launches new Sparky the Fire Dog match game

As part of the year-long celebration of Sparky the Fire Dog®’s 60th birthday, NFPA has launched a new educational matching game which teaches preschoolers about smoke alarms on Sparky's website ( The game, designed for children ages three to five, was created by NFPA and WGBH Kids Interactive, makers of PBS websites like Curious George and Martha Speaks. In the game, children are shown by Sparky himself what a smoke alarm looks like, the sound it makes, and what to do when they hear that sound. This message is especially important to small children, who may not recognize the sound or are unaware that hearing a smoke alarm means get outside and stay outside. In the game, kids will be rewarded for doing the right thing when a smoke alarm goes off.


NFPA observes Sparky's 60th birthday

"Sparky has allowed us to connect with millions of children and their families by making it exciting to learn about fire prevention and safety,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “With this anniversary, we aim to reach more children, parents and educators with fun events and new educational programs throughout the year.” Since Sparky’s inception in the 1950’s, the number of fires and fire injuries in the United States has declined, which is due in part to enhanced public education efforts. Today, approximately 3,000 people die each year because of fires and thousands are injured. Sparky’s work continues and is more important than ever because most fires can be prevented when people take personal responsibility and follow a few safety guidelines. Sparky is asking everyone to take a few moments during his special anniversary year to learn what they can do to reduce the number of fires and fire-related injuries.