Sparky the fire dog

Sparky the fire dog is a Dalmatian who has been the official mascot of the “National Fire Protection Association” (NFPA), an organization in charge of creating and maintaining minimum standards and requirements for fire prevention, suppression training, and equipment –since 1951.


It was 1951, and a loaf of bread cost 16 cents. The population of the United States was around 155 million. Smokey Bear was just seven years old. Harry S. Truman was in the White House and….it was the year Sparky the Fire Dog was born.

He was conceived at the 1950 NFPA Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the association announced that the Advertising Council had approved a national fire-prevention campaign to be launched in 1951, with NFPA as the sponsor. The new initiative needed a symbol, and it was a no-brainer. Inspired by the success of Smokey Bear, the burly bear of the U.S. Forest Service, NFPA decided to create a Dalmatian character, using the dog traditionally associated with the fire service. The rest, as they say, is history, as Sparky has become a national figure and a beloved advocate for fire safety.

Sparky teaches about fire safety, including escape routes and smoke alarms. Sparky features games and coloring pages and has his own song. You can learn more about him at

Fire Safety Education

Sparky the Fire Dog®

Games, activities, stories, and safety tips for kids.

Video playlist

Browse NFPA’s vast selection of public education videos.

Community tool kits

Teach residents how to be safe with these campaign tool kits.

Remembering When program

A fire and fall prevention program for older adults.


Teachers and parents: Download fire safety apps, eBooks, lesson plans and more.

Safety tip sheets

Tip sheets on a variety of fire and life safety topics.

Learn Not to Burn program

Free online fire safety education programs for students in preschool through grade 2.

Lesson Plans

See NFPA’s 10-, 30- and 60-minute mini-lesson plans on cooking, smoke alarms and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ilwaco's Sparky available for hire?

No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not available on request.  In addition to attending community events where the Department has visibility, I go to schools and classrooms as available.  Call the station for more info.

Is Sparky Swag available?

Yes.  The NFPA site includes a complete catalog of my items from bandaids to fire hats, coloring books, workbooks, and other play and educational resources.

How many fires do you go to a year, Sparky?

Unfortunately, I go to way too many fires each year. What makes me sad is that most of those fires could have been prevented had people taken some simple safety precautions.

How do fires start, Sparky?

All fires need fuel, heat, and oxygen.

Fuel is anything that can burn.

Heat can come from many things, such as a lighted match, a stove, or a heater.

Oxygen is in the air, letting the fire breathe and grow.

Fires can start for many reasons. A lot of home fires start in kitchens where people are cooking. Many other home fires are caused by heating equipment. Home fires can also be caused by candles, electrical appliances, and cigarette butts.

These are just a few examples of how fires can start. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to prevent almost all fires.



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Ilwaco Fire Department