Topic: Public Education

National Electrical Safety Month works to keep people safe from electrical hazards, including those associated with “smart” technologies

As National Electrical Safety Month continues this May, it’s worth taking a moment, it’s worth taking a moment to be grateful for all the ways electricity keeps our daily lives buzzing and humming as we expect and assume it will. And because we rely on electricity every day, most often without incident, we tend to forget that electricity does pose real risks. In fact, people are killed or injured by electrical hazards each year, but many people aren’t aware of these dangers. Sponsored by Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), National Electrical Safety Month works to raises awareness around potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical fire safety. This May’s theme, “Connected to Safety,” focuses on emerging technologies that make our homes safe and efficient and ways to use them safely - from understanding how to charge electrical vehicles at home and use household electrical safety devices to working safely with or around solar panels and temporary power. During National Electrical Safety Month, households are encouraged to take these simple steps to reduce risk: Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected. Test AFCIs and GFCIs once a month according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You do not need a flame to start a fire. Fires can start when heat builds up near things that burn. This can happen when a hot light bulb is near things that burn, such as cloth or paper, or a cord has been placed under a carpet.  In addition, residents should have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including scheduling electrical inspections when buying or remodeling a home. Even during this time of social distancing, electricians are still working and considered essential businesses in every state. At the NFPA C&E this June, a special panel presentation on Ground Fault Circuit (GFCI) Protection will be on Monday morning at 8:00am, reviewing the role GFCI has played in electrical safety.  ESFI has offers great resources on its landing page, while the NFPA electrical safety webpage provides tips and information as well, including infographics, fact sheets, videos, and podcasts related to electrical fire safety. In the weeks ahead, please use and share information about National Electrical Safety Month and its electrical safety messages when and where possible.

Burn Survivor and His Brother Find Healing and Purpose After Tragic Home Fire

Josh Gropper was experiencing a day like any other and preparing for a final exam for law school in Boston, when his father called to tell him that Danny, his younger brother, had been badly injured in a house fire. While the cause of the fire has not been fully determined, at the time of the incident, there were no working smoke alarms in the building. Danny, Josh was told, had suffered severe injuries, with burns covering 78 percent of his body. Danny survived but his recovery would be slow and take many years. In the ensuing days after the fire, Josh moved closer to home in New York, changed schools, and dedicated himself to helping his younger brother heal. One of the first things Josh did was find a good lawyer to guide Danny and their family through the legal process. Josh says this experience made him realize how critical it is to have a quality, caring lawyer by his family’s side, someone who was a strong advocate for Danny and others like him whose lives have been tragically altered by severe injuries. Through this revelation, rather than continue to pursue his path in corporate law, Josh changed the course of his professional career and moved into personal injury law. His work and devotion to helping his brother live a full life led him to the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors where Danny and their family found the ongoing peer support and resources they needed and a place to connect with others. It also opened the door for Josh to see how he could combine his knowledge and expertise in the law with his true passion for helping people in need. As Josh tells it, his entire adult life has been shaped by his and his brother’s experience. Today, through his law practice he has been able to support survivors and empower them to live their best life; his law firm has also become partners of the Phoenix Society’s mission and programs. Together with other fire and life safety advocates, Josh continues to educate people about effective burn prevention, burn care and equality, and raise awareness of fire safety, including the importance of having working smoke alarms in homes as a first line of defense in saving lives. Read Josh and Danny’s powerful story on the Phoenix Society’s website. Resources including tip sheets, videos, and related information is available on NFPA’s smoke alarms webpage.

Symposium to Focus on the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem and How Professionals Can Apply its Principles to Help Solve Today’s Fire Safety Challenges

When NFPA unveiled the Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem in 2018, stakeholders told us they were drawn to the idea. Over the last few years, they’ve asked poignant questions and examined ways they could work more closely together to help minimize risk and prevent loss, injuries, and death from hazards associated with fire, electrical, and other dangers in their communities. This fall, NFPA and the University of Maryland Department of Fire Protection Engineering will co-host their first Ecosystem symposium, inviting professionals from all disciplines to share their knowledge and ideas, and engage in more action-oriented collaboration between groups. From understanding the principles of the Ecosystem to the importance of working collectively, attendees will come away with the understanding and the tools to apply the Ecosystem to the challenges in our modern-day built environment. If you are a researcher, academic, risk manager, code official, engineer, architect, or member of the fire service, or you’re in involved in policy or urban planning, or other related profession, we invite you to attend. The event, which runs from September 28-29, 2022, in College Park, Maryland, also features some special guest speakers, including: John Barylick, Author, KILLER SHOW: The Station Nightclub Fire, America's Deadliest Rock Concert Chris Connealy, former Texas State Fire Marshal Benjamin Ditch, AVP, Sr. Lead Research Engineer, FM Global Professor Margaret Mcnamee, Division of Fire Safety Engineering, Lund University, Sweden Birgitte Messerschmidt, Director, Applied Research Group, NFPA Jim Pauley, NFPA President and CEO The event is limited to 180 participants so reserve your seat today. For more information about the event and to register, visit the University of Maryland event webpage. We look forward to seeing everyone in September!
Hands holding a house

Spring in to action: financial preparedness for wildfire

As we work through the last month of spring, NFPA wants to make sure you are ready for wildfires.  There are many actions when it comes to preparation ahead of a wildfire, one important step that often gets overlooked is financial preparedness. Homeowners and renters need to have property insurance in place to help recover from a wildfire or other disaster. Recent wildfire losses are highlighting a real problem of underinsurance. According to a posting on insurance.com, "Most homes are underinsured. Nationwide estimates that about two-thirds of American homes are underinsured. Some homes are underinsured by at least 60 percent and the average is about 22 percent. CoreLogic estimates that three out of five American homes are underinsured by an average of 20 percent." This means that when a loss from wildfire or other disaster occurs, much of the repair or rebuild cost will fall on the homeowner as an out-of-pocket expense. To ensure your coverage is update to-date, our friends at American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) recommend doing the following each year: Update your policy after remodels or home improvements. Ask if your policy has coverages for three key things to prevent underinsurance: Extended replacement cost; Building code upgrade coverage; and Annual inflation adjustment. Be sure your policy reflects the correct square footage, number of bedrooms / bathrooms and doors and windows. Make sure your policy reflects your home’s finishes like granite countertops or hardwood floors. Renters need property insurance too. Consider bundling renters’ insurance with your auto coverage. Add comprehensive coverage to your auto policy to protect car in a wildfire Another important step to determine if you have enough coverage to replace your possessions is to create a home inventory. This task may seem daunting, especially if you've been in your home for many years, but it can be manageable. Some simple steps from the Insurance Information Institute include: Pick an easy spot to start, an area that is contained such as a small kitchen appliance cabinet or sporting equipment closet List recent purchases Include basic information – where you bought it, make and model, what you paid County clothing by general category Record serial numbers found on major appliances and electronic equipment Check coverage on big ticket items Don't forget off-site items Keep proof of value – sales receipts, purchase contracts, appraisals Don't get overwhelmed – It's better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all When creating your home inventory, embrace technology! Take pictures or videos, back them up digitally. There also many apps available to help organize and store your records. The current wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico remind us that wildfires can occur any time of year when the conditions allow.  Start your financial preparedness now – visit APCIA to download the How to Update Your Insurance and How to Create a Home Inventory tip sheets to guide your annual insurance review.  Share with your friends and family so they can be ready too!
Grilling steaks

Use our grilling safety tips to stay fire-safe this Memorial Day weekend and beyond

For many of us, Memorial Day weekend represents the unofficial kick-off to summer, often including lots of outdoor celebrations, cookouts, and grilling. As the holiday and summer months near, follow grilling information, safety tips, and recommendations from NFPA to help lower the risk of grilling fires and associated hazards. NFPA data shows that U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 10,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues. This includes 4,900 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires, resulting in 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $149 million in direct property damage. The peak months for grilling fires are July (18 percent), June (15 percent), May (13 percent), and August (12 percent), though grilling fires occur year-round. Leading causes include failing to clean the grill, the heat source being located too close to combustible materials, leaving equipment unattended, and leaks or breaks in the grill or fuel source. On average, 19,700 patients went to emergency rooms each year because of injuries involving grills. Nearly half (9,500 or 48 percent) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns were caused by contact or other non-fire events. Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000, or 39 percent, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched, or fell on the grill, grill part, or hot coals. NFPA offers these tips and recommendations for enjoying a fire-safe grilling season: For propane grills, check the gas tank for leaks before use in the months ahead. (Watch NFPA’s video on how to check for leaks.) Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Place the grill well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area. If you use starter fluid when charcoal grilling, only use charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. When you have or are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container. Never leave your grill unattended when in use.

Fire and Life Safety Education in the Spotlight

NFPA’s premiere Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) conference is an exciting and cost-effective way to connect (in person!) with fire & life safety content and professionals from a wide range of specialties.  Now in its sixth year, SOPE takes place Monday and Tuesday, June 6 & 7* at the 2022 NFPA Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts. After two years of virtual SOPE conferencing, this in person event provides professional development and networking for fire and life safety (FLS), burn prevention, injury prevention, and public health educators. Registration for SOPE includes eight unique FLS related workshops: Steps to SafetyTM Prevent fire and falls at home Educational Messages in Schools:Best practices from EMAC Best Practices in Youth Fire Setting: Creating a “No Fear” Zone Spice up your Fire Prevention Week Toolkit The Impact of Drug Use on Fire Risk Using Virtual Reality to Communicate the Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers Applying Community Risk Assessment Data in Unexpected and Extraordinary Ways Fire Safety in the U.S. since 1980 SOPE participants also have access to the Expo floor, General Session, and admission to the Community Risk Assessment: Leading with Insights* workshop on June 8th.   A dedicated SOPE lounge area will be provided, offering registrants a place to network and grab a snack. Registration is still open for Spotlight on Public Education (SOPE) held in Boston’s historic Seaport District, a beautiful backdrop to energizing and informative learning for FLS professionals. 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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