NFPA names firefighter Barry Brickey winner of Voice of Sparky contest

Published on March 1, 2011
Sparky's 60th
Contest recognizes spokesdog’s 60th birthday   

March 1, 2011 Today, there is a new voice heard throughout the firefighting community – and it begins with a WOOF! in honor of Sparky the Fire Dog’s® 60th birthday, Barry Brickey, the public education officer for Kingsport Fire Department in Kingsport, Tenn., has been selected to be the next “Voice of Sparky,” the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).


Meet Barry Brickey. 

Brickey, who submitted a video to the NFPA in a nationwide competition among the firefighting community, was chosen as one of three finalists out of 25 entries by a panel of NFPA judges. The public cast their votes once a day between February 21 and 28, and Brickey’s supporters came out in full force.

Watch Barry's audition tape.


“I am honored to represent the Kingsport Fire Department and the fire service as the new ‘Voice of Sparky,’” said Brickey. “Those are very large boots to fill! I’m looking forward to helping Sparky spread the word about fire and life safety.”

A member of the Kingsport Fire Department since 2006, public education is Brickey’s full-time job. He regularly visits the local library to read to children, and loves to bring out his robotic Sparky the Fire Dog, which can be seen in his video submission, to reinforce the message. According to Brickey, their education efforts have worked. Kingsport has not had one fire death in four years as the result of an amazing team of firefighters and their persistence to spread the word about safety throughout the community.

“We are excited that the public has selected Barry to be Sparky’s voice for this milestone year,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “His video captured the true spirit of Sparky, and we are thrilled to have someone so passionate as the charismatic voice behind NFPA’s beloved mascot to assist in educating the public on fire safety.”

Brickey will be the voice of Sparky for the duration of 2011 and will receive an authentic Sparky the Fire Dog costume, an all expenses-paid trip to the Boston, Mass. area to record for the NFPA Fire Prevention Week video, and Fire Prevention Week public education materials to continue teaching others how to prevent fires in the home.

The other two finalists for the “Voice of Sparky” contest were Steve McAdoo of Clackamas, Ore. and Alex Mickschl of Spokane, Wash. Between February 1 and February 16, career and volunteer firefighters as well as fire department employees submitted their best Sparky impersonations, and the public was given the opportunity to choose the winner by voting for their favorite video submission on Sparky’s new Facebook page. During the voting period, thousands weighed in to help choose the winner.

The NFPA launched this contest to kick-off Sparky’s 60th birthday celebration, which will take place March 18. Created in 1951 for an Advertising Council Campaign, Sparky allows the NFPA to connect with millions of children and their families and educate them on important fire protection and safety information.

Since Sparky’s creation, 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 responsibility and follow a few safety guidelines.

For additional information on the “Voice of Sparky” contest and other Sparky birthday celebrations throughout the year, please visit NFPA’s website at

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 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 providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization 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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Lorraine Carli, NFPA Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275        
Katy Layton, CooperKatz on behalf of NFPA: +1 917 595-3057