Author(s): Lorraine Carli. Published on March 1, 2012.


Fire Safety — It’s a Snap
A new partnership with LEGOLAND Florida brings fire safety to the masses

NFPA Journal, March/April 2012 

What do you get when you combine the age-old love of building with plastic bricks and children’s fascination with firefighters and fire trucks? For NFPA the answer was easy. You get a great opportunity to share important fire safety messages in a fun and entertaining way at LEGOLAND® Florida, a new addition to the amusement park landscape in the United States.

LEGOLAND Florida opened in October in Winter Haven, 45 minutes from both Orlando and Tampa. The 150-acre interactive theme park is designed for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12, and includes more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions. One of those shows is “The Big Test,” where a handful of eager but hapless characters are put through a test — administered by the show’s straight man, Chief Stern — to see if they have the right stuff to become volunteer firefighters. While the show’s approach is slapstick — it features a lot of acrobatic comedy and hysterical antics, and audience members may find themselves on the wrong end of a stream of water — there are nevertheless important fire safety messages imparted along the way.

The Big Test, LEGO
Learn more about NFPA's partnership with LEGOLAND.


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That’s why NFPA has joined LEGOLAND Florida for a long-term fire prevention and safety partnership. At a press event and fire safety day at the park last month, NFPA became the official sponsor of “The Big Test.” The show runs four times a day at the LEGO® City Stage and will be seen by thousands of kids and families during the life of this partnership. Visitors to the show will also have a chance to send someone an e-postcard safety message by scanning a special QR code as they exit the theater. This provides an additional way to further spread the life-saving messages they’ve just heard onstage.

Given the ongoing barrage of messages and media, it is increasingly difficult these days to reach children and families with safety messages. As NFPA continually looks for creative ways to break through the clutter with lifesaving information, the LEGOLAND Florida opportunity is a good fit. As I sat in the audience for a preview of the show earlier this year, it made sense to me. Kids laughed at the antics and dodged buckets full of water, but they were also able to correctly answer Chief Stern’s questions about what to do if there was a fire in their home.

To jumpstart the partnership, NFPA, with the help of the Winter Haven Fire Department and other area firefighters, put together learning stations throughout the kick-off day that promoted “The Big Test” and reminded families to have working smoke alarms and a home escape plan.

In addition to “The Big Test” sponsorship and messaging, NFPA will work with LEGOLAND Florida throughout the year to share fire safety information. There will be a particular emphasis during October as part of Fire Prevention Week activities.

NFPA and LEGOLAND Florida also wanted to acknowledge others who play a role in making the world safer from fire, so the partnership includes park discounts that will be available throughout the duration of the partnership for NFPA members and friends as well as firefighters.

For more information on the NFPA/LEGOLAND Florida partnership and discount programs, visit

Lorraine Carli is vice president of NFPA’s Communications Division.