Safety Source

Taking Steps to Reduce Fire Risk in On- and Off-Campus Housing During Campus Fire Safety Month in September

With the fall semester soon upon us, students are making their way to college campuses across the country, unpacking and settling in for the school year. For some students this may be the first time living on their own in a dormitory, or as an older student they may be living with friends in an off-campus apartment or house. Through our “Campus Fire Safety for Students” campaign held each September, NFPA and The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS) are working together to help ensure these residences are as safe as possible for students. If you’re not familiar with Campus Fire Safety Month, it’s an annual campaign that raises awareness about the threat of fires in both on- and off-campus housing. Each year NFPA collaborates with other safety organizations to share relevant information with students, their parents, and campus housing staff and administrators, helping students make living spaces as safe as possible from fires and associated hazards. This September, NFPA and CCFS are reinforcing the critical importance of cooking safety, the focus of this year’s Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW) campaign, which works to educate people about the leading risks to home fires and ways they can better protect themselves and their loved ones. When it comes to cooking, NFPA research shows that cooking fires are the most frequent cause of home fires and home fire injuries; unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and related deaths. With so many students having access to cooking appliances and common kitchen areas in student and off-campus housing, it’s vital that they know when and where cooking hazards exist, along with simple but critical ways to prevent them. Did you know …. according to the latest statistics from NFPA’s “Fires in Dormitory-Type Properties,” report, from 2017 to 2021, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,379 structure fires each year in dormitories, fraternity houses, sorority houses, and barracks. These fires caused an annual average of 23 civilian injuries and $12 million in direct property damage during this same period. In addition, three out of four fires in these properties began in the kitchen or cooking area, accounting for 60 percent of the civilian injuries and 17 percent of the direct property damage. Cooking equipment was involved in nearly 9 out of 10 fires. More statistics of note include: The months of February, September, and October were peak times for fires in dormitory properties. Fires were more common during the evening hours between 4 p.m. and midnight when over half of the fires (54 percent) occurred. Kitchen and cooking equipment were involved in 86 percent of the fires. Fires were also more common on weekends with Saturday and Sunday being the leading days for fire events. Campus Fire Safety Month provides a great opportunity to better educate students about where fire hazards exist, and simple but critical ways to prevent them. NFPA and CCFS offer these tips and recommendations for cooking safely in dorms and in off-campus housing: Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove or oven. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Always keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Set a timer for a reminder that you are cooking. Cook only when alert. Don’t cook if you are sleepy or have taken medicines or alcohol that make you drowsy. Keep anything that can catch fire (towels, potholders, etc.) away from the stovetop. Check with the local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or chimenea. If a fire starts in the oven, turn it off and leave the door closed. Have the oven checked and/or serviced before using it again. If you have a cooking fire, when in doubt, get out and call the fire department. These additional tips from NFPA and CCFS can help students reduce the risk of fires and save lives: Know and practice the building’s evacuation plan, as well as alternate routes out of the building. Test smoke alarms monthly in an apartment or a house. Ensure smoke alarms are installed in all sleeping areas, outside of all sleeping areas, and on every level of the apartment or house. Never remove or disable smoke alarms. Keep combustible items away from heat sources and never overload electrical outlets, extension cords, or power strips. Many fires are caused by portable light and heat sources, like space heaters and halogen lamps. Keep common areas and hallways free of possessions and debris. Never block exit routes. If you’re a public educator or safety professional working in a community with a college or university campus, NFPA and CCFS have resources and materials you can use to help raise awareness about student safety. From new students to seniors, resident assistants to campus safety professionals, everyone has a role to play when it comes to fire safety on college and university campuses. Many of our resources, including videos, checklists, infographics, and tips sheets, are designed to be distributed through social media, school newspapers, college websites, and posted in dormitory common areas. Make sure you check them out and share them with others! For more information about the Campus Fire Safety for Students campaign and to find these free resources, visit and the CCFS website and its Share! For Students webpage.

Get Ready for Fire Prevention Week with NFPA

"Cooking Safety Starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention.™” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week™, October 8–14, reinforcing the simple, yet critical actions people can take to reduce their risk of cooking fires and burns. Cooking remains the #1 cause of home fires and injuries, with unattended cooking the leading cause of cooking-related fire deaths. Whether cooking on a stove, in the oven, on a grill, or even with an electric cooking appliance, there are a variety of things people can do to prevent burns and fires from happening. In a modern-day world full of distractions, this year’s theme underscores some simple actions everyone can take, including: Watch what you heat and set a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep kids 3 feet (1 m) from the stove/grill/oven and anywhere hot foods/liquids are being served. Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove. Always keep a lid nearby; if a small fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. GET READY to bring Fire Prevention Week to your communities—here’s how: Register today for our free Fire Prevention Week 2023 webinar to learn about the drivers, data, and calls to action behind this year’s theme.  There’s something for everyone in this year’s theme no matter the type of cooking (stoves, grills, electric appliances) or audience (kids, college students, older adults) for fire and life safety, injury prevention, and community educators to engage and connect for cooking safety. The webinar will feature guest speaker Anthony Hamins of the Fire Research Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), who will provide insights on cooktop fire ignition and mitigation, and the direction education and technology need to take to help reduce this #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Visit our FPW™ Toolkit Page for a variety of templates, fillable flyers, social media assets, lesson plans, tip sheets, and activities addressing a wide range of audiences and types of cooking fire and burn prevention.  Our materials are available for free download to use and of course aligned with our Educational Messages Desk Reference, which brings together the most up-to-date fire and burn prevention messaging rooted in fire science, standards, behavioral science, and pedagogy. Now in its 101st year, Fire Prevention Week (FPW) remains the signature initiative from NFPA to connect fire departments, schools, and community education and injury prevention professionals to their communities with life-saving, relevant messages, resources, and programs.  Learn more about the history of FPW and tour our resources at Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis, Sparky the Fire Dog® on Twitter and Facebook and NFPA on Instagram to keep up with the latest in Fire and Life Safety education.
Firefighters high-fiving kids

Partner with the National Fire Protection Association and Domino’s for Fire Prevention Week

NFPA and Domino’s are teaming up for the 16th year to deliver fire safety messages and pizza during Fire Prevention Week (FPW), Oct. 8-14, 2023. To make this year’s campaign a success, we’re encouraging fire departments to join forces with their local Domino’s store to implement the campaign in their communities. Here’s how the program works: Partner with your local Domino’s store to participate in an easy-to-execute program that will promote fire safety during FPW. Select a day and time period (usually 2-3 hours) to randomly choose 3-4 pizza orders to deliver, accompanied by a fire engine. When the pizza delivery arrives, the firefighters will check the home for working smoke alarms. If the smoke alarms work, the customer’s order is free (cost absorbed by the Domino’s store). If the smoke alarms aren’t working, the fire department will replace the batteries or install fully functioning smoke alarms (cost absorbed by the fire department). As you’ve likely heard by now, this year’s FPW campaign theme is “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™.” It highlights some of the simple but important actions adults can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking. Partnering with Domino’s presents a fun and powerful way to reinforce this messaging. Domino’s Fire Prevention Week Sweepstakes Fire departments that sign up (from Aug. 14-31) to participate in this program will automatically be entered into Domino’s FPW Sweepstakes. Domino’s will randomly select three winners who will receive the NFPA’s “Fire Prevention Week in a Box 300” which includes an FPW banner, posters, adult brochures, activity booklets for kids, magnets, stickers, and more! Sign up to participate If your fire department would like to participate in the NFPA and Domino’s FPW program, please email Honoré Washington. Signup emails that are sent Aug. 14-31 will be entered into the Sweepstakes. The FPW Sweepstakes winners will be drawn on or around Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Stay safe this July 4: Leave fireworks to the professionals

As July 4 fast-approaches, NFPA urges the public to only attend public fireworks displays put on by trained professionals and to avoid use of consumer fireworks, which can cause serious injury and damage due to their unpredictability. Underscoring this point, a new report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that the number of fireworks-related injuries occurring in the U.S. each year have increased significantly between 2007 and 2022, with 10,200 fireworks-related injuries reported in 2022. This does, however, reflect a decline in the number fireworks-related injuries since 2020 (at a peak of 15,600), when people were more likely using consumer fireworks at home during the pandemic, due in part to the absence of public displays. According to CPSC, an estimated 1,300 emergency department-treated injuries were associated with firecrackers and 600 involved sparklers in 2022. The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (an estimated 29 percent of injuries) along with head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent). Children and young adults experienced the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries. In terms of fireworks-related fires, NFPA’s latest statistics show that there were 12,264 reported fires in the US started by fireworks in 2021 (the latest year for which we have data), including 2,082 structure fires, 316 vehicle fires, and 9,866 outside and other fires. These fires caused 29 injuries to civilians and $59 million in property damage; there were no reported fire deaths. Along with the preventable risks that fireworks pose to consumers, the injuries and damage they incur also unnecessarily tax responding fire departments, as well emergency room workers, who are called upon to address these incidents. As first and second responders continue to be responsible for an ever-expanding scope of emergencies, let’s all do our part to lighten their load this July 4, keeping ourselves and others safe in the process. Leave fireworks to the professionals and have a safe, festive holiday. For more facts and information about fireworks, visit NFPA’s fireworks page.

CRR Workshop Provides Strategies for Identifying and Mitigating Community Risks

On Wednesday, Karen Berard-Reed, CRR lead at NFPA®, led a community risk reduction (CRR) workshop with Lauri Volkert, fire marshal of the Town of Windsor (Connecticut), as part of the 2023 Conference & Expo®. The half-day workshop provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of CRR and its impact on effectively identifying and mitigating community risks. The workshop was designed for those entering the CRR space, specialists seeking to expand their knowledge base, and CRR champions eager to capture additional content that will help grow their local teams. Each of the sessions fostered rich discussions and skill-building activities to help CRR specialists boost local capacity for CRR implementation with the goal of giving them concrete actions to bring back to their communities. Overall, the workshop proved to be highly interactive with lots of engagement from folks at both local and state level agencies across North America. It also served as an excellent networking opportunity to drive continued conversations after the event.      For anyone working to kick-start a CRR program in their community, check out NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, which provides a roadmap for identifying the leading risks in a given community and effectively mitigating them. Also, CRAIG 1300® is the NFPA digital dashboard that can help streamline and maximize your CRA and CRR efforts. Aligned to the industry standard on CRR, CRAIG 1300 aggregates important community data, provides useful data visualizations, and curates data sets to assist those working through the CRA process. Learn more about CRAIG 1300 by taking a demo of this dynamic, easy-to-use tool today.

Spotlight on Public Education Covers Timely Issues for Fire Safety Educators and Advocates

Each year, the Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) conference brings together leading fire and public safety advocates from a diverse range of communities, providing numerous opportunities to learn, network with peers, and share ideas for better navigating roadblocks and challenges. As part of the NFPA Conference & Expo® in Las Vegas, this year’s SOPE conference featured eight dynamic education sessions, including:   ·      Promoting Public Education Programs: From the Firehouse Kitchen Table to the Community ·      Adverse Childhood Experiences and Community Risk Reduction: Mitigation with Evidence-Based Approaches ·      Fire Prevention and Education Programs: Engaging the Community ·      Data-Driven Prevention Programs for Older Adults ·      Demonstrating Results: Evaluating your Fire and Life Safety Education Efforts ·      Fire Prevention Week: Repurposing History to Create Informed Communities ·      Enhancing Fire Safety Education with Virtual Reality ·      Utilizing Community Partnerships to Save Lives   Each of these sessions included time for attendees to ask questions, share information, and learn from one another, bringing up challenges they’ve faced, lessons learned, and ideas for more effectively addressing fire and life safety issues in their communities. Key themes among the sessions were the critical importance of aggregating data to identify the leading risks and the most vulnerable populations within a community, along with the tremendous value of building partnerships with other groups and organizations to best meet the community’s needs.   At Fire Prevention Week: Repurposing History to Create Informed Communities, presenters Brene Duggins and Maria Bostian, two of NFPA’s Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year recipients, focused on repurposing historical Fire Prevention Week™ themes and transforming them into fire and life safety activities for stakeholders of 2023 and beyond. This session helps set the stage for the 2023 Fire Prevention Week theme to be announced on July 10.   The 2024 Spotlight on Public Education conference will be held in Orlando, Florida. Call for 2024 proposals is open you are interested in being a presenter.    NFPA offers a wealth of public education information, data, and resources that address many of the timely issues covered at SOPE. You can find them at

Peer Learning for Fire and Life Safety Education

Those who can … share how they do it with their peers. The NFPA Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) conference is an exciting and cost-effective way to connect with fire and life safety professionals for learning, sharing, and networking. This “conference within a conference” is specially designed for professionals to educate and empower their communities for fire, burn, and related hazards prevention. Now in its seventh year, SOPE takes place Monday and Tuesday, June 19 and 20, at the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration for SOPE includes eight unique fire and life safety–related workshops, access to the Expo floor and General Session, and a dedicated lounge for people to network and grab a snack. SOPE participants also have free admission to the “Community Risk Reduction: Making Neighborhoods Safer” workshop on Wednesday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This year’s workshops cover a variety of topics for learning and skill development, including:   ·      Promoting public education programs: From the firehouse kitchen table to the community ·      Adverse childhood experiences and CRR: Mitigation with evidence-based approaches ·      Fire prevention education programs: Engaging the community ·      Data-driven prevention programs for older adults ·      Demonstrating results: Evaluating your fire and life safety efforts ·      Fire Prevention Week™: Repurposing history to create informed communities ·      Enhancing fire safety education with virtual reality ·      Utilizing community partnerships to save lives   Register for the 2023 Spotlight on Public Education today. At $125, it’s a great value for dedicated fire and life safety professional development and networking in sunny Las Vegas! Follow me on Twitter @AndreaVastis, Sparky the Fire Dog® on Twitter and Facebook and NFPA on Instagram to keep up with the latest in fire and life safety education.
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