Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year

In an effort to recognize educators who take the lead role in making their communities safer, NFPA presents the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award.   


We are looking for fire and life safety educators in the United States or Canada who:

  • Work for a local fire department or fire marshal’s office.
  • Use NFPA educational programs and materials in a consistent and creative way.
  • Demonstrate excellence and innovation, reaching out to the community with NFPA materials.

Applicants can be nominated or self-nominated. Recipients of a state or provincial educator award during 2017 from a fire department association, community organization, or government entity will be considered.

The Educator of the Year receives:

  • $1,000 honorarium and travel to the NFPA Conference and Expo for an award presentation. 
  • Registration to attend the NFPA Conference and Expo.
  • The local fire department receives a $1,000 donation to support public education activities. 
2018 recipient
Denise Hynes - 2018 Educator of the YearDenise Hynes, Public Educator for Toronto Fire Services, has been chosen the 2018 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Hynes has been using NFPA programs and materials since 2002. She works in the fifth largest fire department in North America, in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and serves a population of nearly three million residents. Her colleagues describe her as a tireless educator who has an unbelievable passion and enthusiasm for her job.

Hynes has developed teacher workshops, prop kits, and safety events using NFPA programs. An NFPA Remembering When Scholarship winner, she has coordinated the training of more than 700 home health staff at 15 separate training sessions. During Toronto Fire Services Safety Awareness Week activities, she coordinated the delivery of 24 Remembering When/High Rise presentations.

Hynes has worked with the “Famous People Players,” a world-renowned theater company, to co-design a fire safety week theatrical presentation. Fire safety messages come alive in the black light show and Sparky is now one of the stars of the fire safety segment.

She coordinated a partnership with COSTI Immigration Services to design fire and life safety sessions translated into Arabic for Syrians who had recently come to Canada. She delivered presentations to help the newcomers learn how to stay fire safe, using NFPA’s handouts in Arabic on the topics of electrical, heating, and cooking safety and home fire drills.

Both the program for Syrian immigrants and the theater presentation were acknowledged with fire safety awards from the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council.

Past recipients
  • 2017 - Chief Dolly Hulin, Thomasville, NC
  • 2016 - Sherrie Leeka, Westminster, CO
  • 2015 - Lt. Annmarie Pickett, Worcester, MA
  • 2014 - Samantha Hoffmann,  Barrie, ON
  • 2013 - Tracy Koslowski, Tuscon, AZ
  • 2012 - Marsha Giesler, Downers Grove, IL
  • 2011 - Maria Pelchar, Holyoke, MA
  • 2010 - Beverly Thompson, Tucker, GA
  • 2009 - Dayna Hilton, Clarksville, AR
  • 2008 - Dawn Cull, Harrisonburg, VA
  • 2007 - Vanita Krouch and Jeff Malkowski, Farmers Branch, TX
  • 2006 - Tina Dotson, Asheville, NC
  • 2005 - Tracy Sparks, Shelby, NC
  • 2004 - Amy Hein, Glenwood, IL
  • 2003 - Rae McMullen, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2002 - Michele Clayton, San Pedro, CA
  • 2001 - Connie Rowden, Roseville, CA
  • 2000 - Michael Jordan, Troutdale, OR