play safe! be safe!® receives prestigious Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award

The play safe! be safe!® program recently won the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award for 2016 from The National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC). The award program was created in recognition of Benjamin Franklin’s unique combination of being a writer and an advocate for fire protection in the community. In fact, Franklin was credited with creating one of the first fire companies in 1736 in Philadelphia.

The play safe! be safe! program, which educates first responders, educators and community leaders across the United States and Canada about fire prevention, was nominated by Krista Fischer for its multi-faceted, multi-media fire safety education that introduces and demonstrates four essential safety skills for pre-school children. The program has been in existence for over 21 years and has been used at more than 220 workshops.

Dr. Robert Cole, who facilities the play safe! be safe! program was also recognized, along with his colleagues, for his book, Juvenile Fire Setting, a Community Guide to Prevention and Intervention, published by Fireproof Children. This practical book offers effective educational interventions, tips on communication skills, a step-by-step interviewing guide, chapters especially for mental health professionals, and nuts and bolts techniques for building community coalitions. The authors of the book include: Cole, Robert Crandall, Carolyn Kourofsky, Daryl Sharp, Susan Blaakman, and Elizabeth Cole.

The book is credited as “the mental health professionals best source for understanding juvenile fire setting and crafting office-based interventions for young patients that their families” by The Journal of the American Academy of Child an Adolescent Psychiatry. The program was nominated by Frank McGarry, former New York State Fire Administrator (retired).

To learn more about the NFHC award or to submit material for consideration in the contest for 2017, visit