Fire Prevention 52: Message from the Fire Chief Spencer

By Hal Spencer, NPS Structural Fire Chief
house fire with smoke and broken window
How can YOU prevent a fire from destroying your home, or irreplaceable structures and artifacts at your park? Find out below.

How can we measure the success of any prevention program? How do we know if the hundreds of hours spent researching and writing Prevention 52 articles ever lead to the prevention of a single structure fire? How do we count the fires that never start?

The fact is that we never really know, but one thing I do know is that if we act on our hunches and question those things that "don't look quite right," we will absolutely reduce the opportunities for fires to start.

The NPS Prevention 52 campaign was launched in 2011 to tap into the passion and commitment of every NPS employee, raise their awareness of fire hazards, and empower them to take action to remove or reduce them. Along the same lines as Prevention 52, the U.S. Fire Administration launched a fire prevention program called "Fire is EVERYONE's fight." It’s a call to action to unite the fire service and many others in a collaborative effort to reduce home fires.

As NPS employees, we are members of a team some 21,000 strong. We are stewards of "America's best idea," and with that, we have the colossal responsibility for protecting thousands of buildings and tens of millions of irreplaceable cultural artifacts and museum objects that those buildings contain. Having been an NPS loyalist now for more than 25 years, I have to admit that our mission--"protecting and preserving for future generations"--sounds like a daunting task. But actually, fire prevention in a work force with a little knowledge and confidence is not difficult to achieve.

In fact, I suspect many of us have already taken the first steps. Let's see: Anyone out there ever have a concern about an overused extension cord? How about seeing that a file cabinet gets moved from an exit corridor because it just did not seem right? You get the idea. There are probably hundreds of these small tasks that get done every day in each of our 401 park units.

Thanks for your ongoing commitment to protecting our employees, visitors, and heritage for future generations. Our children thank you.

Please keep up the good work!

Hal Spencer
Fire Chief, NPS

Take Action

  1. Join the P52 mailing list and get a weekly short message on what YOU can do to protect NPS and your home and family from fire.
  2. Join us on Facebook for a daily personal fire prevention story!

Last updated: November 2, 2016