Categories » ‘Fire Safety and Prevention’

Fire Up the Barbie

July 11th, 2012 by

Image of Fire in grill

Having been raised along the coast and within walking distance of the beach, my family loved to barbecue as often as possible. We would fill our hibachi with charcoal, pour on a generous amount of lighter fluid, throw a lit match on top, and voila, an impressive fire would kindle the briquettes to a deep red glow. The trouble was, sometimes the fire was not big enough to start the charcoal. I would, as a 7 or 8 year old, squirt lighter fluid on the small fire to speed things along. Looking back I wonder where my parents were, and how I managed to avoid igniting myself as the fluid streamed out of the can! To help in this outdoor season, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has outlined a few “grilling safety tips.”

Safety tips

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Propane grills
Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.


These tips can be viewed in a safety poster the NFPA published. 
( )

Photo was taken by Tanjila Ahmed.


About the author:

Jack C. Putnam grew up in Laguna Beach California. He spent two years teaching and doing humanitarian service in Africa as a young adult. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Child Development/Family Science, and a master’s degree in School Psychology. Jack is married and has 5 children and 4 grandchildren.

Walmart’s Grant Deadline Ending Soon

November 28th, 2011 by

Walmart and Sam’s Club have been providing community grants for years now and their latest grant application process is coming to an end. If you have heard of this and would like to apply you still have a few weeks! This grant covers a broad range of public and private organizations:

Eligibility Requirements:

The following organizations are eligible to seek funding from the Walmart Store and Sam’s Club Giving Programs:

  • Organizations with current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3), (4), (6), or (19) of the Internal Revenue Code and must be listed in the most current IRS 50 State Master File at the time of application.
  • Recognized government entities: State, County and City agencies, including law enforcement and fire departments.
  • Volunteer Fire Departments with current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or that operate as an entity of a recognized government agency, as demonstrated by primary funding and documented by a letter from that agency.
  • K-12 Public Schools/Districts, Charter Schools, Community/Junior Colleges, State Colleges and Universities.
  • Private schools and colleges with current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Churches and other faith based organizations with propose projects that address and benefit the needs of the community at large. Examples of such projects include:
  • Food Banks
  • Shelters
  • Job Skills Training
For more information about this grant and how to apply, please visit their website by clicking here

NEW: Order Directly from our Website!

November 28th, 2011 by

Shopping cart announcement

We are pleased to announce that you are now able to purchase your safety education gear online! We are very excited to give you this option and if you have any questions please let us know. Also, we still love phone calls and would love to answer any questions you might have! Click here to contact

Motorola Offers Local Public Safety Grants

September 23rd, 2011 by

Motorola Solutions Grant

September 22, 2011

Applications Due October 14

The Motorola Solutions Foundation Local Public Safety Grants aim to support safety education and training programs for first responders, their families, and the general public in the United States and Canada. With the financial assistance from this program, the organization can pay for additional resources needed to promote awareness, improve operations, and change more lives.

This grant program is competitive. Please note that with the large volume of anticipated applications, not all organizations that apply will receive grants.

The 2011 Local Public Safety Grants are available to public safety programs such as:

  • Local chapters of police and fire foundations
  • Community disaster preparedness programs
  • Fire/police nonprofit safety organizations
  • Scholarship programs for surviving families of fallen law enforcement officers/firefighters
  • Plus more

Only U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations may apply. Canadian non-governmental organizations can e-mail the Foundation at for access.

Requests for grant funding must be between $1,000 and $10,000, and cannot be used to support programs already fully funded by federal or state programs. The final day to submit your application is Friday, October 14, 2011. Apply today, and see how the Motorola Solutions Foundation can help your organization help more people.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) offers a series of training opportunities for fire departments through the NVFC Academy. Topics include courses in health and safety and utilizing Fire Corps in fire prevention, disaster relief, and preparedness efforts. If you have considered bringing this training to your department but do not have the funding, consider applying for the Motorola grant to offset the costs. Click here to learn more about NVFC training opportunities.

Motorola is a Corporate Member of the NVFC.

Click HERE to go to their website!


Robotronics to attend EMS EXPO 2010

September 28th, 2010 by


Robotronics will be attending the EMS EXPO co-located with Firehouse Central and Enforcement Expo on September 29 through October 1 in Dallas, Texas.  At EMS EXPO 2010 we are bringing Sparky the Fire Dog and Pumper, Andy the Ambulance, and PC the Patrol Car robots for everyone to see and try out.  Come visit us at booth number 2543.

Robotronics offers educational fire safety, crime and injury prevention products to assist your department with educating children and adults.  Our robots and costumes make learning about safety enjoyable while increasing retention of the principles taught.  Robotronics really does make it fun to learn about fire safety, crime and injury prevention.  Check with our marketing and sales professionals, Phil Weeks and Floyd Tippetts.  Mention this post and they will give you a free safety item.

Robotronics has been the leader in safety education products for 30 years.  Beginning with our first robot, Pluggie, we now offer thousands of robots, costumes, puppets and educational materials to help your organization teach children how to be safe.  Many of our first robots are still on the job today teaching children how to be safe.  Our ongoing commitment is to help you encourage safety in your community in a fun and enjoyable manner.

Fast Facts About Smoke Alarms and Fire

September 23rd, 2010 by

From the NFPA website:

Smoke Alarms

  • Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.
  • Most homes (96%) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)
  • Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
  • Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.
  • In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in 40% of the home fire deaths.
  • In 23% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
  • In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.
  • More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.
  • Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS), 67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.
  • In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.
  • Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.
  • In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire. (This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.)


  • Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and injuries.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.
  • Heating is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths and fire injuries.
  • Electrical failures or malfunctions are factors in roughly 50,000 reported fires each year.
  • Roughly 30, 000 intentionally set home structure fires are reported each year.

In 2008

U.S. fire departments responded to 386,500 home fires.

  • Home fires killed 2,755 people and injured 13,160.
  • Someone was injured in a reported home fire every 40 minutes.
  • Roughly eight people died in home fires every day.
  • A fire department responded to a home fire every 82 seconds.
  • 83% of all fire deaths and 79% of fire injuries resulted from home fires.

The Great Chicago Fire: Not The Cow’s Fault After All

September 21st, 2010 by

The National Fire Prevention Association published the following article about the cause of the Great Chicago Fire:

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.


“Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With”

September 20th, 2010 by

Many people throughout the United States celebrate Fire Prevention Week. This year’s NFPA theme is “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With,” and will be held October 3rd-9th. Some schools hold assemblies, have special classroom lessons and projects, and often invite local fire departments to participate. Community groups are also active in sharing information with it’s members. Look below for a few free or inexpensive resources that can be used to make this a valuable experience for your school or group.

We want to hear what you do to make Fire Prevention Week informative and exciting for your students or community. Send us your photos and share with others your successful and unsuccessful experiences. It is our hope that we can all benefit from this sharing of ideas, and learn better ways to teach our life saving messages.

NFPA lesson plans, coloring books, brochures, videos, bags, banners, etc.

Robotronics//Coloring/activity books, bookmarks, crayons & pencils, certificates, robots & costumes, stickers, music, and more.

Fire Prevention


Scholastic Fire Safety Resource Center//Free lesson plans, printables, and more resources., activities, cartoons, and more.

Robotronics to attend Fire Rescue International 2010

August 24th, 2010 by

Fire Rescue International

Robotronics will be attending the Fire Rescue International 2010 trade show on August 27-28, 2010 in Chicago.  At FRI2010 we are bringing Sparky the Fire Dog, Andy the Ambulance, Pluggie the Fireplug, Freddie the Firetruck, Buzz E Smoke Alarm with his Safety House as robots and costumes for everyone to see and try out.  Additionally we will be showing the Rainbow Valley safety DVDs.  Come visit us at booth  number 2153 across from US Fire Administration (2249) and Cutters Edge (2354).

Robotronics offers fire prevention educational products to assist fire departments with educating children and adults.  Our robots and costumes make learning about safety enjoyable while increasing retention of the principles taught.  Robotronics characters have helped children to know what to do in an emergency and how to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  We provide a positive medium for teaching and have some of the best educational products around.

Robotronics has been the leader in safety education products for 30 years.  Beginning with our first robot, Pluggie, we now offer thousands of robots, costumes, and puppets along with educational materials to help your organization teach children how to be safe.  Many of our first robots are still on the job today teaching children how to be safe.  Our ongoing commitment is to help you encourage safety in your community in a fun and enjoyable manner.

Freddie the Fire Truck – Custom Paint Pictures

August 12th, 2010 by

Freddie the Fire Truck™

Freddie the Fire Truck™

Freddie the Fire Truck™ is an exciting tool for teaching fire safety. A fully animated fire truck robot, Freddie moves, speaks, listens, plays audiocassette tapes and sounds his siren, all by remote control. He can wink, blink, and move his eyes and with his smiling mouth he presents a positive and friendly image to young and old alike. He can be used with great success in school classrooms, assemblies, station tours, shopping mall exhibits, state and local fairs, and any other setting where your program is represented.

Freddie the Fire Truck™

Freddie the Fire Truck™ in blue

Freddie the Fire Truck™

Freddie the Fire Truck™ with kids