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 TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to keep up with the latest from the Public Education Division.

View all products for Fire Prevention Week.
Andrea Vastis
Senior Director, Public Education, public health promotion & education professional passionate about eliminating disparities in access, education and resources.

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