|Frequently Asked Questions
Author Dayna Hilton
What attracted you to fire safety education?
I joined the fire service in 2000 and became interested in fire safety education after
attending a "Prevention Solutions for Small Communities" class at the National Fire Academy
(NFA) in Emmitsburg, Maryland. This class was designed to assist volunteer fire departments
with a community less than 25,000 people. Since Johnson County RFD #1's district
population is less than 2,800, I was allowed to take the class.
It was at that time that I realized that my state ranked 7th in the nation in fire related deaths
and injuries. While at NFA, I vowed then to do whatever I could to change those unfortunate
statistics in my state. Since then, I have made it my life's goal to help keep children and their
caregivers fire safe throughout the United States.
The opportunity at the National Fire Academy opened my eyes and provided the foundation
for everything that I am and do today. I am forever grateful to the National Fire Academy, to
my fire department, my Fire Chief, the firefighters on my department and to my mentor, Emily
McGlaughlin, for making me the fire safety educator that I am today.
What would you say is your most important contribution to helping keep children
and their caregivers fire safe to date?
There have been numerous opportunities, none which would have occurred without the
support of my family, Johnson County RFD #1, Principal Steve Ziegler and the students and
teachers at Clarksville Primary School, PBS KIDS Sprout, the National Volunteer Fire
Council, the International Fire Service Training Association, the Home Safety Council, First
Alert and the many, many friends in the fire service.
Two of the most exciting opportunities to date were the filming of the fire safety tips for PBS
KIDS Sprout. I traveled with my two dogs, Sparkles and Spanner to film those segments all
the way across the country to Pennsylvania. I will never forget those days as long as I live.
The other highlight was appearing on FOX and Friends live in New York City. These two
opportunities allowed me to reach millions of children and their caregivers.
And finally, having the opportunity to write the children's fire safety book, Sparkles the Fire
Safety Dog and produce an accompanying audio book. The audio book was exciting in the
fact that three generations of firefighters participated in the project, including my dad and
Sparkles is truly a wonderful ambassador for teaching fire safety and it gives me great
pleasure in seeing her so happy when she assists me with presentations. Recently, we
received word that our book enabled two children and their families get out of a house in a
fire related situation. Sparkles and I are thankful that we were able to contribute in some way.
You have had a lot of support from fire departments and other safety-related
organizations. What has that been like?
It has been overwhelming at the support that we have received from the fire service and
other safety related organizations. Without their support, the book would not have been
possible. We are truly grateful to all of them, and other individuals, like Jack Peltier, Jim
Peltier, Dr. Harry Carter, Senator Mark Pryor and Congressman John Boozman, for helping
us spread the fire safety message.
When is your next book coming out?
In June 2008, Sparkles and I traveled to Boston for a photo shoot at the Southborough Fire
Department. It is expected that our next book, Sparkles Goes to Boston, will hopefully be
released in the Spring of 2010.
Will you be reading in my city?
If I am in the area, yes. Please send me an email and be sure to include RE: "Reading" in the
|“Helping save children and their caregivers'
lives, one book at a time.”
|"Sparkles the Dalmatian has her
paw on the pulse of fire safety."
|Helping save children and their
caregivers' lives, one book at a time.
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|We want to hear from you! If the book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog,
helped save the life of someone in a fire-related situation, please
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