AUTHOR: Andrea Vastis

A boy with a hearing aid

Fire Prevention Week: What’s in it for me?

October 3 -9 marks NFPA's 99th annual Fire Prevention Week showcasing this year’s theme, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”  Each year NFPA selects a theme that is universally relevant across populations, data-driven, and actionable. This year’s theme was born out of both quantitative and qualitative data: Almost three of every 5 home fire deaths occur in homes with no/non-working smoke alarms and the remote work and learning environment gave us a real-time view into people’s homes, frequently showing that people let the “chirp” of a low battery signal go unresolved.  This year’s theme pays particular attention to assure people who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to the appropriate education and equipment to be alerted to the sounds of their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. A blanket “have working smoke alarms” message does not address the one in eight Americans aged 12+ with hearing loss in both ears, or the nearly 25% of those aged 65-74 and 50% of those 75+ who have disabling hearing loss (NIH). The technology advances in hearing aid and cochlear implants do not overcome the need for alerts during sleeping hours, when those devices are not in use. So what’s the actionable part?  NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week  website has a myriad of tools and resources to support Fire & Life Safety education efforts with simple, concrete actions people can take to keep themselves and their families safe.  From a universal and inclusive Smoke and CO alarm Tip Sheet to a dedicated Smoke & CO alarm tip sheet for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to our Family Action Plan in both English and Spanish, all of which are able to be co-branded, educators have a variety of educational assets to offer their community members. There are key tips to be promoted as part of assuring EVERYONE in the home is protected by their smoke and CO alarms including: Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss. Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed. Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely Check out our Fire Prevention Week toolkit page with easy to incorporate assets – templates for proclamations, fillable event flyers, fundraising letters, dedicated social media assets formatted for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and a variety of age appropriate lesson plans, activity sheets, and coloring pages for use in during October and year-round.  Whether doing in-person, remote or hybrid events, there is an arsenal of tools for you to have a successful Fire Prevention Week this year. Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.
escape route sign

From Preparedness Month to Fire Prevention Week

September is National Preparedness Month in which residents are encouraged to plan ahead and take precautions against a myriad of hazards. From having an evacuation bag, to stocking up on batteries and food in case of power outages, to preparing your animals for storms and evacuations, the messages are clear – disasters can happen, and you can be ready to respond. NFPA's preparedness page offers up key information and actions people can take to prepare to respond quickly and safely in the event of natural disasters and home fires. The “Preparedness” discussion often leads to the question – “what’s the difference between preparedness and prevention?”  Preparedness is a measure of prevention – by planning for worst case scenario – wildfire, hurricane, home fire, and the like.  It’s the work you do to assure you and your family can respond quickly and safely.  A classic example is having a Home Fire Escape Plan. Prevention is a broader term which encompasses preparedness and includes taking all available actions to prevent the hazard/emergency. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme from NFPA, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” encourages people to engage in the preparedness level of prevention by recognizing the sounds of their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and taking appropriate action to be prepared in case of home fire or CO exposure.  From beeps to chirps, to testing monthly, to installing strobe lights and bed shakers, this year’s theme is all about making a plan to maintain and respond appropriately to their alarms.  Now in it’s 99th year, Fire Prevention Week, celebrated October 3 – 9 (and really all month long) offers Fire and Life Safety Educators and Injury Prevention Professionals information, resources and tools to support teaching people a critical preparedness lesson – that of responding to the sounds of their smoke and CO alarms. Check out the Fire Prevention Week Toolkit and resources for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and use the #FirePreventionWeek when celebrating this year. Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.

Learn how to create data-driven programming at the upcoming Spotlight on Public Education virtual conference

How do you take your community risk assessment (CRA) to the streets with data-driven programming?  That question will be answered in the engaging workshop “From Craig1300™ to Sparky the Fire Dog: Taking your CRA to the streets with relevant, data-driven programming,” within the September 14th Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) virtual conference hosted by NFFA. Now in its 5th year, SOPE is hosted by the Public Education Division of the National Fire Protection Association, and brings together fire & life safety educators, injury prevention, healthcare and public health professionals for a day of learning and skill building. The Taking your CRA to the Streets workshop provides participants with an opportunity to learn about the keys to a successful community risk assessment, along with the tools and “how tos” for turning that data into relevant programs to reach your community.  The workshop rounds out with a real-world example how all the pieces fit together from Amaris Vasquez, of the Tucson, Arizona Fire Department. Other SOPE workshop topics include: Creating culturally relevant education programs, Anatomy of a great fire prevention week campaign, Creating education programs in our new hybrid world, and many more! Registration for SOPE is now open and allows participants full access to the event for one full year. Take advantage of the special 2 for 1 registration – just select 2 tickets, use code EARLYBIRD125, pay the single ticket fee of $98.00 and receive a link to give that second ticket to whomever you want.  Register now, pick favorites later! Since 2017, the Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) program has been part of NFPA’s Conference & Expo experience, providing tailored professional development for the needs of Fire & Life Safety, Injury Prevention, Public Health, and related education professionals. This program provides up to 10 hours of continuing education credit for both live and on demand access, and is available for one full year for all registrants. Learn more about the program at www.nfpa.org/SOPE.  Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.
Emergency exit

NFPA’s Spotlight on Public Education conference to feature “Collaboration for Inclusion for People with Disabilities” workshop

The work of the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assured, among other things, that people with disabilities would have access into public buildings. This impacted the public conversation around universal design, building codes, and the concept of inclusion for people with disabilities. While the ADA provided guidance to assure people with disabilities access into buildings and public places, guidance and best practices for how people can safely evacuate these buildings and spaces in the event of fire and related emergencies is only recently emerging.  “Collaboration for Inclusion: Assuring access to preparedness, response and recovery for people with disabilities” is just one of the many fire & burn prevention education workshops featured at the upcoming Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) virtual conference, going live Tuesday, September 14. Now in its 5th year, SOPE is hosted by the Public Education Division of the National Fire Protection Association, and brings together fire & life safety educators, injury prevention, healthcare and public health professionals for a day of learning and skill building. The Collaboration for Inclusion workshop provides participants with information about the National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN) and their ongoing initiative to address the gaps in evacuation planning and response for people with disabilities, via a grant they received from FEMA. NDRN hosted a series of interactive and iterative workshops, pairing Protection & Advocacy agencies with fire service to identify gaps, issues, successes, partners and processes to assure access to preparedness, response & recovery from fire and related hazards for people with disabilities. The goal for all involved is assuring access and equity to communication, services and programs related to preparedness, response & recovery from fire and related emergencies.  Other SOPE workshop topics include: Creating culturally relevant education programs, Anatomy of a great fire prevention week campaign, Creating education programs in our new hybrid world, and many more! Registration for SOPE is now open and allows participants full access to the event for one full year. Take advantage of the special 2 for 1 registration offer now until August 31st. Select 2 tickets, use code EARLYBIRD125, pay the single ticket fee of $98.00 and receive a link to give that second ticket to whomever you want. Register now, pick favorites later! Since 2017, the Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) program has been part of NFPA’s Conference & Expo experience, providing tailored professional development for the needs of Fire & Life Safety, Injury Prevention, Public Health, and related education professionals. This program provides up to 10 hours of continuing education credit for both live and on demand access. Learn more about the program at www.nfpa.org/SOPE. Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.

Fire & life safety education in our new hybrid world featured at the upcoming Spotlight on Public Education conference

“Virtual” defined 2020, and now “Hybrid” is the name of the game in 2021 for fire & life safety educators to develop and deliver fire, burn, and injury prevention education for their communities. “Our Hybrid World: Stepping up your virtual fire & life safety activity – tips and tricks to support your face-to-face efforts” is just one of the many exciting workshops available to community educators during the upcoming Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) professional development conference, going live Tuesday, September 14th. This exciting virtual conference, part of NFPA’s 125th Anniversary Conference Series, brings together fire and life safety educators, injury prevention professionals, healthcare, emergency responders, and others responsible for risk reduction to share knowledge and ideas to boost community fire, burn, and injury prevention programs.  “Our Hybrid World,” presented by Brene Duggins, of North Carolina, provides educators with numerous ways to reach their communities, taking advantage of the many digital tools to reach people with critical life-saving education and resources.  This interactive workshop will provide new tools, strategies, and tips for success to support community educators in their quest to reach all members of the community in the best possible way. Since 2017, the Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) program has been part of NFPA’s Conference & Expo experience, providing tailored professional development for the needs of Fire & Life Safety, Injury Prevention, Public Health, and related education professionals. This program provides up to 10 hours of continuing education credit for both live and on demand access.  Participants have access to the program for a year, and can do the workshops, and get their CEU’s at their convenience.  Learn more about the program at www.nfpa.org/SOPE. Registration for SOPE is now open and features a special 2 for 1 offer now until August 31st.  Select 2 tickets, use code EARLYBIRD125, pay the single ticket fee of $98.00 and receive a link to give that second ticket to whomever you want.  Register now, pick favorites later! Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.
Multigenerational family

Culturally relevant fire & life safety education: What are we really talking about?

Fire and life safety education is a vital component of community injury prevention. Working with diverse groups of people in multiple settings presents significant challenges and opportunities for the public health educator. Not only must the information be credible, it must also be relevant and accessible to all in the community, regardless of age, location, language, economic status, or racial/ethnic background. This means that in the design of educational programs, educators must face the fact:  One size does NOT fit all.  But how can educators assure that they aren’t just paying lip service to cultural inclusion and relevance, and actually reach people with their programs? One answer to that question is “Inclusive Excellence:  From rhetoric to reality by design,” the first in a line of exciting workshops featured at the September 14th "Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE)"  virtual conference, hosted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of its 125th Anniversary Conference Series.    In this workshop, Dr. Rumay Alexander, Professor of Nursing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a team from the Harris County Emergency Services Department of Katy, Texas, will provide an opportunity for Fire & Life Safety (FLS) educators, public health, and injury prevention professional to learn what it takes to design programs to be significant, relevant, and inclusive across all groups in their communities. Participants will gain insights and tools to assure programs and communication efforts are effective across cultures, cutting through the rhetoric to the real world of meeting the needs of your community members.  Since 2017, the Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) program has been part of NFPA’s Conference & Expo experience, providing tailored professional development for the needs of Fire & Life Safety, Injury Prevention, Public Health, and related education professionals. This program provides up to 10 hours of continuing education credit for both live and on demand access. Learn more about the program at www.nfpa.org/SOPE. Registration for SOPE is now open and features a special 2 for 1 offer now until August 31st.  Select 2 tickets, use code EARLYBIRD125, pay the single ticket fee of $98.00 and receive a link to give that second ticket to whomever you want. Register now, pick favorites later! Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis and NFPA on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.
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