The latest issue of Fire Engineering Magazine features an article about the dangers of hoarder fires. Writer Ryan Pennington points out that an often overlooked danger to firefighters is tackling the overhaul phase. After a fire has been knocked down, he says, research shows that many firefighters overexert themselves and are unaware of the dangers. Sifting through pounds of collected material can lead to respiratory problems, broken limbs, pulled backs, and even death. He says that the overhaul phase can become more manageable with increased on-the-scene staffing, heavy machinery, and shorter work phases.
NFPA has a free guide about hoarding and issues for the fire service to be aware of. The document covers what members of the fire service can do when they become aware of a hoarding situation, how to talk to someone about hoarding, and some of the risks hoarding poses to the fire service. More information on the topic is available on the Hoarding and Fire Safety page on the NFPA website.
Communities across the U.S. and Canada are gearing up for National Night Out, an event commonly held in early August to increase awareness about drug prevention efforts, neighborhood watch, and other anti-crime programs. Typically organized by block watches, nonprofits, and police departments, National Night Out programs also seek to raise awareness about fire safety.
NFPA offers a number of educational items for free on the website, including our safety tip sheets, easy to read materials in other languages, infographics and fun activities for the kids on the parents and educators page of the Sparky the Fire Dog website. It’s not unusual for a National Night Out event to attract hundreds of attendees. It's a great venue for reaching members of the public with information designed to increase their safety.
In Colorado, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Deputy Fire Marshal Scott Pringle does a presentation with older adults called, “The Price is Life.” This interactive presentation, which includes NFPA’s Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults, has a trivia game show-style format, PowerPoint presentation, lecture, and discussion. Pringle recently began using NFPA’s 10-minute mini-lesson on cooking fires when he gives the talk.
“We discuss the fact that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home injuries, as well as tips to avoid cooking fires, how to safely put out a pan fire, what to do if your clothes catch on fire, and how to treat a burn,” he said.
The 10 minute mini-lesson is a great tool that helps guide group discussions, Pringle said. “The lesson plan helped me to ensure that all of the key concepts related to cooking fires were covered, including how to prevent them, and how to deal with them if they do occur.”
You’ll find additional cooking safety information on the NFPA website.
The overall goal of any successful smoke alarm installation program is to save lives, says St. Louis Fire Department Battalion Chief Derrick Phillips, and evaluating the program’s effectiveness is key. Phillips is one of many officials featured in NFPA’s “Planning and Implementing a Successful Smoke Alarm Installation Program.” The guide, which can be downloaded at no cost from the NFPA website, helps communities plan and implement their own smoke alarm installation programs in which firefighters and trained volunteers install smoke alarms and batteries.
Phillips said his department tracks installations by ZIP code, gathers information on the number of people living in the home to identify a baseline, cross-references the information periodically to determine the number of lives saved, and conducts follow-up surveys to determine behavior changes.
The Fire Prevention Week kids' page let's kids solve Sparky's secret safety message and make their own decoder ring with the newest crack the code activity. The kids' page offers a number of other fun and educational activities, including a smoke alarm hidden picture and a Happy Fire Prevention Week with Sparky e-card. These are all great resources for after-school programs, open houses, and community events.
Fire and life safety educators are asked to speak at a variety of venues. Careful planning can make the difference between an excellent presentation and one that leaves the audience yawning. A 10 minute mini-lesson is challenging because it requires that the presenter be effective in a short period of time. The new carbon monoxide alarms mini-lesson includes a sample lesson plan, and PowerPoint presentation. Ten-minute mini-lessons on cooking fires and smoke alarms, and a mini-lesson template are also available on the NFPA website.
Photo courtesy of Christian Sann, Boston Harbour Association
Sparky the Fire Dog delighted children of all ages last weekend at a health promotion and injury prevention fair. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Massachusetts, hosted the fair. Exhibits focused on stroke risk assessment, bike and water safety, and fire and burn prevention.
Sparky handed out smoke alarm safety information and cards with his website address. Volunteers staffing the NFPA booth distributed additional fire safety materials. This is the first year the hospital has hosted the fair.
NFPA and Domino’s Pizza are teaming up for the 7th year to deliver fire safety messages and pizza during FPW, October 5-11, 2014. To continue the campaign's success, we’re encouraging fire departments to join forces with their local Domino’s Pizza store and implement the program in their communities.
Here’s how it works: Over a one- to two-day period (it’s up to each team to decide) for an hour each day, anyone who orders a Domino’s pizza may be randomly selected to receive a surprise visit from Domino’s and the local fire department. Upon arrival, firefighters will do a smoke alarm check in the home. If the smoke alarms are working, the pizza is free. If not, firefighters will replace the batteries or install a fully functioning alarm.
Fire departments that sign up to participate in the Domino’s program this month will automatically be entered into Domino’s FPW sweepstakes. Five randomly selected winners will receive NFPA’s “FPW-in-a-Box 300”, which includes:
Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane, burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide.
NFPA’s updated carbon monoxide safety tip sheet is available in English and Spanish. Easy-to-read handouts are also available on the NFPA website in multiple languages with illustrations representing various cultures.