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Coffee Break Bulletin

How To Make Sure Your Fire Safety Messages Are Accurate

Updated: March 28, 2023

Photo: NFPA

Have you ever been asked to give a public education safety presentation to a local community group? Have you ever questioned whether your messages are accurate and up-to-date? You are not alone and there is a resource out there to help you.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created the Educational Messages Advisory Committee that meets annually to review educational fire-safety messages. These fire-safety experts provide recommendations to NFPA public education staff for updating and revising the messages. The messages are influenced by NFPA codes and standards.

You can find these messages in the NFPA’s free Educational Messages Desk Reference, 2020 Edition. The messages are intended to be used by members of fire and emergency services, fire- and life-safety educators, and other fire-safety advocates, so that accurate and consistent language is used when relaying safety information to the public.

Desk Reference is easy to use

The reference is divided into 3 sections. Educational messages arranged by topic are found in the first section. Each topic area is self-contained and written so that all the information needed on a certain subject is provided within that category. There are 24 chapters, and the topics covered include:

  • Batteries
  • Candles
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Fire sprinklers
  • Medical oxygen
  • Portable fire extinguishers and firefighting
  • Smoke alarms

New chapters added for 2020 included pet fire safety and youth firesetter.

The second section provides educational messages for children — specifically for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and grades 1 and 2. The third section provides educational messages that are easy to read and are designed for people with limited English understanding.

Desk Reference is updated each year

The messages are reviewed every year by fire safety experts. Anyone may submit a comment, and the submitter need not be a member of EMAC or NFPA. Go to for the submission form.

Action step to make sure your messages are accurate and consistent

Download your free copy of the NFPA’s Educational Messages Desk Reference and update your presentation materials to use the messages it contains.

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