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NFPA Impact: Celebrating 100 years of Fire Prevention Week

July 19, 2022  By Laura King


As is always the case, the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2022 is based on science and data: Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.

In May 1919, at NFPA’s 23rd annual meeting in Ottawa, at the invitation of the Dominion Fire Prevention Association, resolutions were passed urging governments in the United States and Canada to support a campaign for a common Fire Prevention Day. 

Fire Prevention Day expanded to Fire Prevention Week in 1922, and the non-profit NFPA, which has officially sponsored Fire Prevention Week since its inception, selects the annual theme.

One hundred years ago, solid furnishings and construction burned slower than the plastics, synthetics, and lightweight products in homes today. Occupants had time to escape if they were alerted to smoke or fire.

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Now, with as little as two minutes to get out of a burning building before the circumstances become untenable, it’s critical that everyone in the home – including guests – knows and has practiced a home fire escape plan at least twice a year.

The National Fire Protection Association’s messaging and resources for this centennial Fire Prevention Week consider all types of homes, and all types of occupants: single family, townhomes, apartments, hotels and motels, campers and RVs; adults, older adults, children, people with mobility challenges and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The images feature diverse populations and urban and rural settings.

You’ll recognize some of the FPW images from NFPA’s long-running Learn Not to Burn program, which was established in 1979; its messages about smoke alarms and escape plans remain accurate and are based on NFPA’s Educational Messages Desk Reference – from which all public-education programming and materials are derived. 

You’ll notice that some messaging for Fire Prevention Week 2022 is a bit more direct than usual – we’ve customized the messages for today’s social-media savvy audiences who are used to, and have come to expect, no-holds barred posts.

For FPW 2022, NFPA has developed three sets of messages and social media cards. 

The first series of three social media cards features clear, direct language, and bold images of fire and smoke: Fire is FAST! Fire is DARK! Fire is HOT! 

We’ve also maintained our popular “Be like Bill” messaging. 

The third set of six social media cards features messages that build on Learn Not to Burn lessons: 

  • Different homes have different plans. Know what to do and where to go if there is a fire. 
  • Have a home fire escape plan for everyone in your home. Some people may need help waking up or getting outside. Plan for your abilities!
  • Protect your loved ones. Plan your home fire escape.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet. Call 911 or the fire department from outside your home.
  • Have a clear path to your exits.
  • Knowing two ways out of every room is an important piece of your home fire escape plan. 

You can download the social cards for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and other materials from NFPA’s dedicated Fire Prevention Week website, www.fpw.org (or www.firepreventionweek.org) a one-stop resource centre for fire departments and other organizations such as schools, daycares, and community groups planning FPW activities or events, virtually or in person.

There are two key tabs at the top of the FPW website: About, and Toolkit.

The About section features NFPA’s step-by-step escape planning video – suitable for all ages and audiences  and our history of FPW video, a must-see!

There are lesson plans at www.fpw.org to help fire departments, schools and community groups plan FPW presentations for children, adults, and older adults.

Watch for NFPA’s FPW social media posts, and be sure to use the hashtag #FirePreventionWeek. Follow @sparky_fire_dog and @LauraKingNFPA.


Laura King is NFPA’s regional director for Canada. Contact her at lking@nfpa.org. @LauraKingNFPA.  


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