Author(s): Susan McKelvey. Published on September 1, 2016.

On Message

NFPA supports Fire Prevention Week with savvy new social media and communications tools


EARLIER THIS YEAR, NFPA conducted a survey that produced some eye-opening results. One of the questions asked respondents how often smoke alarms should be replaced; nine out of 10 answered incorrectly.

The correct answer: smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.

“These findings signaled to us that we need to better educate the public about smoke alarm replacement,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Fire Prevention Week is the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) is a key advocacy effort at NFPA, and the first step each year is establishing a theme that carries an essential fire safety message, one that typically addresses information people don’t know or need to be better informed about. The smoke alarm replacement question presented an ideal topic to build an FPW campaign around. As a result, the theme for this year’s FPW, which takes place October 9–15, is “Don’t Wait—Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”

With the onslaught of information people receive from online, digital, and broadcast platforms, breaking through the clutter to promote a specific fire safety message can prove challenging. At the same time, social media and other communications platforms present a wide range of opportunities to reach the public with this year’s FPW campaign theme.

NFPA has created a series of new social resources, including videos, infographics, and other tools, that will be posted on a variety of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and online, in the weeks leading up to the campaign and throughout the week of FPW as well. These assets are specifically designed to quickly deliver the most important elements of smoke alarm replacement, with the ultimate goal of motivating people to find out how old their smoke alarms are and to replace them if needed.

While NFPA works to promote FPW on this broader scale, Carli notes that it’s the active support and involvement of fire departments and other fire and life safety advocates throughout North America that bring the campaign to life in their communities.

“With direct access to residents, fire departments can help us reach and better educate more people about home fire safety than we ever could on our own,” said Carli. “Sharing the online resources and assets we’ve created and helping spread this year’s smoke alarm message is one of the easiest ways to do that.”

NFPA offers downloadable and reprintable FPW resources for fire departments and other safety partners, including sample news releases, op-eds and fundraising letters, downloadable artwork, and public service announcements. These materials, along with many other FPW resources, are available online.

SUSAN MCKELVEY is a communications manager at NFPA. Top Photograph: Thinkstock