Prevent Home Fires
Bring Fire Prevention Week fun to your community this year.
NFPA Journal®, September/October 2008
Throughout my life, no matter where my travels have taken me, I have always felt safest and most secure at home. My home is my sanctuary. Whether that is because of the laughter and noise of my family, the familiar things that I surround myself with, or the actual house, I’m not sure. But as Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home.”
One’s home feels like a safe haven, and NFPA members want to bring to their communities that sense of safety and empowerment. And the best way to start is to have people ask themselves a simple question: Do you regularly check for home fire hazards?
If not, there is the potential for danger. In 2006, fire departments responded to nearly 400,000 home fires in the United States. That’s why the theme of Fire Prevention Week (FPW) 2008 is, “It’s Fire Prevention Week: Prevent Home Fires!”
From October 5 to 11 (or for most fire departments, the entire month of October), fire-safety advocates will spread the word to their communities that, with a little extra caution, preventing the leading causes of home fires—cooking, heating, electrical, and smoking materials—is within their power.
The resources created by the team at NFPA to help educators, families, and the general public have a successful Fire Prevention Week are easily accessible, audience specific, and best of all…free.
Whether you are a firefighter, a life-safety educator, or a classroom teacher, firepreventionweek.org, has everything you need for a successful campaign. Among the tools provided are the most recent statistics, safety tips for kids and adults, ready-to-use press releases and letters to the editor, lesson plans and handouts, caregiver letters in English and Spanish, the official FPW logo and camera-ready artwork, Web banners, and an escape planning grid.
The site also offers a comprehensive “how-to” section that takes you step by step through a smoke alarm installation program, learning stations for schools, and ideas you can use for your department’s open house.
The “For Teachers” section is packed with lesson plans and handouts, including a home-hazard checklist, which can be used independently from the lessons. Another fun way to connect with the kids in your community is our new “Be Safe” educational song, so be sure to get the lyrics from our website.
One little-known FPW fact is that, in its 208-year history, the White House has had two major and a handful of minor fires. Kids across the United States will learn about these fires, along with a handful of other classroom activities, through NFPA’s Scholastic Program. In conjunction with the upcoming presidential elections and Fire Prevention Week, Sparky the Fire Dog® is on a campaign to teach families about preventing home fires. All Scholastic Program materials will be available in September on firepreventionweek.org in English and Spanish.
Some other fun additions to the site include NFPA’s Public Education Division Manager Judy Comoletti’s blog, the online FPW quiz, and an animated public service announcement featuring NFPA’s loveable new character, Dan Doofus.
The Great American Fire Drill is also back. Kids, families, schools, and businesses can go to sparky.org and participate in the “biggest fire drill ever.” Here’s how it works: create a home escape plan, practice the plan, and then go to sparky.org in October to be counted.
Every year as FPW comes to a close, I hear from fire departments across the country about their exciting campaigns and all the great ideas that came out of people in the community working together to get the message out. I look forward to hearing about the successes of FPW 2008 and passing them on to all of you next year!
Amy Lebeau is communications manager for NFPA’s Public Education Division.