March 18, 2020 – Everybody’s favorite fire safety dog, Sparky the Fire Dog®, celebrates his 69th birthday today! In recognition of Sparky’s big day, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is reminding the public that fire continues to present real risks and must be taken seriously: A structure fire occurs in the U.S. every 24 seconds, resulting in an annual average of 493,797 fires, 2,844 deaths, 12,812 injuries, and $10.5 billion in direct property damage.
“Sparky is an emblem of fire safety for kids and adults alike, and his messages are just as relevant today as they were nearly 70 years ago,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA.
According to Carli, today’s homes burn faster than ever, making home fire safety messages all the more critical. “While the number of home fires have declined significantly over the past four decades, the risk of dying in a fire remains about the same, which means we still have a lot more work to do to make the pubic safer from fire.”
With dogged determination, Sparky has elevated awareness around the places people are at greatest risk to fire, while promoting basic but essential prevention messages.
“People tend to be over-confident when it comes to fire safety, particularly at home. In many cases, that complacency translates to a lack of planning and prevention, which puts people at increased risk,” said Carli. “In short, Sparky still has a lot of work to do when it comes to educating the public about how to truly be safe from fire.”
As Sparky blows out the battery-operated candles on his 69th birthday cake, consider some of his key fire safety messages:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms once a month using the test button.
- Make a home escape plan with all members of your household. Draw a map of the home, marking all doors and windows with a path from each exit to the outside, and choose a meeting place outside where everyone will meet upon exiting.
- Practice your escape plan regularly – at least twice a year - with all members of your household.
Sparky’s website offers a wealth of age-appropriate games, videos, apps, and other activities that make learning about fire safety easy and fun. Visit Sparky’s Facebook page for additional fire safety information, resources and messages, many of which can be easily downloaded and shared.
For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research, and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.
As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards.
About Sparky the Fire Dog®
Sparky the Fire Dog® was created for the NFPA in 1951 and has been the organization’s official mascot and spokesdog ever since. He is a widely recognized fire safety icon who is beloved by children and adults alike. In addition to connecting with the public through educational programs, he has a very active website, sparky.org, which allows kids to explore and learn about fire safety in a trusted, interactive environment. Sparky the Fire Dog® is a registered trademark of NFPA.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275