The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently launched a new Sparky the Fire Dog game to help children learn about the importance of fire safety. The game, “Crack the Code,” is now available free online at www.sparky.org. It stresses the importance of fire safety by asking children to identify fire facts that could help save lives.

“We set out to create a game that keeps kids engaged and challenged but also gives them fire safety information they can use,” said Amy LeBeau, NFPA’s communications manager of public education. “We wanted to help kids feel like they were part of something big: Sparky’s Secret Safety Society. It gives the kids ownership, and we hope will keep them interested in fire safety once they leave the Web site.”

Players of Sparky’s “Crack the Code” game visit three different fun and interactive scenes as they are tasked with helping Sparky decipher hidden messages. During their search for clues, players must avoid the robots, identify fire facts and use Sparky’s decoder ring to decode the secret message before heading on to the next round. After cracking the code, children are able to download a printable fire safety checklist. To make the connection from what they are learning in the game to real life, kids are challenged to print out and complete the checklist with their families. This encourages parent-child interaction and also gets the entire family involved in fire safety.

Players can also send in a request for their own official secret decoder ring, available while supplies last.

Sparky’s “Crack the Code” game provides a fun and safe learning experience for kids and there is no advertising on the site. The game is geared towards first through fourth graders but can be enjoyed by non-readers with a grown-up’s help.