Sparky the Fire Dog invites parents and children to celebrate his 60th birthday in fire safety style

Published on March 18, 2011
Famous spokesdog reminds families about the importance of fire prevention

March 18, 2011 This week, kids everywhere have a very special birthday party to attend – and they don’t have to leave their home. In celebration of Sparky the Fire Dog ®’s 60th birthday, which officially is today, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is launching a colorful and interactive Party Kit on www.sparky.org, where parents can help their kids print, cut and glue their way to fun – all while learning about fire safety.

The Party Kit has everything families need to throw a Sparky-themed party, including downloadable templates for coloring pages, decorations, invitations, iron-on t-shirt transfers and even floor graphics – not to mention instructions for party games like “Bucket Brigade” and “Pin the Badge on Sparky.” NFPA also designed a special anniversary e-card just for Sparky’s birthday that children can send their friends and family.

“It is so important for parents to take part in educating their families about fire safety, and we want to give them the tools and ideas to get these crucial messages across in a way their children will identify with and remember,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communication of NFPA. “What better than a birthday party for a loveable mascot, filled with crafts and activities that all tie back to a fire safety theme? So many children love when Sparky the Fire Dog visits schools and community events with their local firefighters and public educators, and now parents can carry on the educational celebration at home.”

NFPA also worked with well-known designer and illustrator Scott Nash, who is recognized nationally for his work in children’s media, to create a new “Sparky Museum” game where children can learn how Sparky has changed over the past six decades. Each time they move their mouse over a “portrait,” a fun fact pops up providing a bit of history. Of course, no children’s game would be the same without a few twists and turns.  At surprise points during the game, an alarm sounds to let kids know that a thief is in the museum, prompting the player to find the culprit.

“Sparky.org has been such as great tool for our public education efforts,” said Judy Comoletti, division manager of public education for NFPA. “Not only is it fun for kids, it’s a trusted resource for parents, too.”

Sparky was created in 1951 for an Advertising Council campaign. The number of fires and fire injuries in the United States has since then declined due in part to enhanced public education efforts. However, approximately 3,000 people die each year because of fires and thousands are injured, so Sparky’s work continues and is more important than ever.

According to NFPA research, children under five are one and a half times more likely to die in a home fire than the general public. “Sparky plays an important role in communicating fire safety to kids and families. Most fires can be prevented when people take personal responsibility and follow a few safety guidelines, and Sparky helps to deliver those messages in a fun and entertaining way,” said Carli. 

About Sparky the Fire Dog®
Sparky the Fire Dog was created for the National Fire Protection Association in 1951 and has been the organization’s official mascot and spokesdog ever since. He is a widely recognized fire safety icon that is beloved by children and adults alike. Millions have learned about fire safety through educational lessons and materials featuring his image and he is more active than ever today. Sparky frequently visits schools and participates in community events to spread fire safety messages, often accompanied by his firefighter friends. In addition to connecting with the public through public service announcements and his featured role in Fire Prevention Week campaigns each October, he has a very active website, www.sparky.org and a Facebook page that was launched in 2011 as part of his 60th anniversary celebration. Sparky the Fire Dog® is a registered trademark of NFPA.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Contacts:
Lorraine Carli, NFPA Public Affairs Office, +1 617 984-7275 
Katy Layton, CooperKatz on behalf of NFPA, +1 917 595-3057