Friday Safety Chat

This time of year the National Fire Protection Association announces its Fire Prevention Week theme. The theme this year is, “It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!” Whether you are a seasoned fire safety educator or brand new to the profession, the Fire Prevention Week website is a wonderful resource.

Each year in Johnson County here in Arkansas, we hold a Fire Safety Awareness Parade and Kidsfest Safety Fair based on the Fire Prevention Week theme. As our department starts to plan for Fire Prevention Week activities, we access the FPW site for PSA’s, sample proclamations, media materials, how-to guides and more. I noticed that this year they have included a timeline on their site to help you prepare for FPW. Very helpful! Everything is right there in one convenient location. You gotta love that! 

In other news, the construction of Sparkles’ Clubhouse is coming along wonderfully, but I must admit that it has been very challenging to be patient throughout the whole process. The building arrived two weeks ago, but shortly thereafter, our town had an unwelcome visitor: an F3 tornado. Needless to say, it brought construction to a screeching halt for a few days. 

I think Sparkles was looking down from heaven as the new clubhouse remained untouched by the tornado, although our property and home sustained damage. When we returned home after taking shelter in town, I just knew that when got home that the clubhouse would be destroyed. As my husband and I drove down our street, neighbors stopped us along the way sharing that the clubhouse was okay. Imagine how excited I was as five different neighbors along the length of our street shared the good news (they know how much the clubhouse means to our safety efforts) that the clubhouse was fine. I couldn’t believe it! 

Yesterday I received an email from fellow educator and friend, Monica Colby, announcing her resignation from the Utah Office of the State Fire Marshal. Monica wants to spend more time with her family and to offer her assistance to the fire departments around Rapid City, South Dakota. Her last day at the State Fire Marshal’s office will be June 29th. The fire safety dogs and I want to wish Monica all the best! 

It’s hard to believe that the day for Sparkles’ memorial service is almost here. Actually, this is the first time that I have mentioned Sparkles' passing in a column, but I finally feel that I am finally able to do so. It has been very challenging dealing with the loss of my partner, but I take comfort in knowing that her legacy will live on. 

Last night I had the good fortune of doing a live stream with Mike Koch from Floral Creations. Mike is a nationally recognized award-winning floral designer from here in Clarksville. Needless to say, our town is very blessed to have someone as talented as Mike living in our small town! Mike is graciously donating his time and talents to design Sparkles’ memorial floral arrangement for her service that will be held at the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation's Walk of Honor at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland June 29th (  The memorial floral design of Sparkles is simply going to be breathtaking! 

During the live stream, Mike explained and demonstrated the process that he is going through in making the arrangement. When completed, the three-dimensional design will be a bigger than life image of Sparkles, complete with her vest, badge, helmet and red toenails. If you would like to learn more about the amazing process, you may view Part I of the recorded live stream at It then continues at I hope you enjoy watching the process. It is simply amazing and will be a wonderful tribute to my best friend. On June the 7th, we will be live streaming the second segment of this process with Mike at 5:30 P.M. CST at Hope you can join us. 

And speaking of live streams, that evening we will be broadcasting Sparkles’ Safety
at 7:00 P.M. CST ( Two live streams in one day in two different locations will be quite challenging, but we are going to try to pull it off. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment, but anything for fire safety! During Sparkles’ Safety Spot, the fire safety dogs and I will be showing off the new clubhouse and reporting on its progress, as well as sharing fire safety tips with children watching on the web. As always, you are invited to watch and hopefully find a few ideas that might be helpful when you are planning your safety programming.

If you are going to be in Boston next week for the NFPA conference, look me up and say hi! I'd love to hear about what you've been up to with your fire safety efforts! 

Should you have a fire prevention program, idea or tip that you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me at  and we will look at including it on the Playing it Safe blog. Don’t be shy; let us know what you have been up to! 

Until next time, stay safe!

*The picture on this blog post is part of my back yard. The fence for the fire safety dogs was completely destroyed.