Structural Fire Prevention 52: A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

By Eric Anderson, Structural Fire Training Specialist
group of firefighters training by going on a long run
NPS firefighters getting fit for the upcoming wildland fire season.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, Alaska, 2009. By K. Kavalok.

For many of us the New Year brings with it a renewed commitment to improve our physical health. Changing our diet and exercise plans, while important and necessary, takes long-term dedication. If you're anything like me, that means it can be tough to stick with it.

So, while you're tackling these challenging goals, here are some positive improvements we can make that take very little time and effort. There are ways to help ensure the safety of your family and belongings, as well as to enhance the safety of your workspace (bonus: gain some easy kudos from your supervisor) without taking much time away from your workout!

Here are just a few things that you can do now to start the year off in a safe manner:

Take Action at Home

Smoke Detectors - Did you replace the batteries the last time you changed the clocks? If not, it will only take a few minutes to remedy. Safety hint: Have at least one smoke detector in each sleeping room, outside each room, and on each floor. (Read a P52 about Smoke Detectors.)

Clothes Dryers - It takes only seconds to clean your dryer's lint trap before every use. Safety hint: Never leave the dryer running if you leave the house. (Read a P52 about Dryer Fires.)

Escape Plans - It is crucial that all residents know at least two exit locations, and where to go and what to do once they get out. Make a plan and discuss it with everyone in your house. Safety hint: As you develop an escape plan, be sure to consider children, people with disabilities, and anyone with mobility challenges. (Read a P52 about Escape Plans.)

Take Action In the Parks

Space Heaters - Look around your office to ensure all space heaters are clear from combustible materials. Safety hint: Unplug space heaters when you leave an area. (Read a P52 on this topic.)

Extension Cords and Power Strips - Avoid using multiple electrical devices plugged into a single power strip or multiple extension cords. These situations can overload circuits, particularly in older buildings. Safety hint: When using an extension cord, ensure that it is not frayed, has no broken insulation, and is heavy enough gauge for the job. (Read a P52 on this topic.)

Exits - As you walk around your office today, take a couple of seconds to identify as many alternative exits from the building as possible. Make sure they are unobstructed on the inside and out. (Read a P52 on this topic.)

If you have any questions about fire safety, contact your park's structural fire coordinator.

Prevention 52 Begins with You!

  • Prevention 52 intends to educate and empower all NPS employees to help prevent structural fires.
  • Prevention 52 provides you with relevant fire prevention messages every week of the year—52 to be exact.
  • You have the opportunity every week to make a difference. Don't let historic ashes become your legacy.