The Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award is an annual program sponsored by the National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC). The award recognizes excellence in fire writing and was created in honor of Benjamin Franklin’s unique combination of being a writer and publisher and simultaneously an advocate for fire protection in the community.

About the award

The application period for the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award is open for one year and closes on April 17 of each year. The application fee is $17.36 for each individual entry. The NFHC Board of Directors determines the judging panel on an annual basis.

Award categories

Best fictional novel with fire, firefighter or fire-related professional solving problems.

Best non-fiction book that addresses fires, firefighters or other fire professional in solving a specific or general problem.

Best biography of person who had served in any position involving fire protection disciplines.

Best autobiography of person who had served in any position involving fire protection disciplines.

Best single newspaper article addressing a local, regional, state or national fire protection issue.

Best magazine/newspaper article series addressing a local, regional, state or national fire protection issue.

Best media presentation addressing a major fire prevention issue at the local, state, national or international level.

How to nominate a fire writer

Submit the following information:

  • Your name, address, phone number and email address.
  • The name, address and email address of the writer/author you are nominating, along with the name of the publisher.
  • The category (above) you are nominating the writer/author for.
  • A brief narrative of the importance of this fire writing to the fire profession in the United States.

Mail the application package

Send the application package, along with the $17.36 application fee, to:
National Fire Heritage Center
P.O. Drawer 76
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Questions about the award?

For more information, please contact us.

More about Benjamin Franklin

Franklin as a fire protection advocate

Franklin is recognized as the “Father of the American Fire Service.” He is credited with the creation in 1736 of one of the first fire companies in the country. In almost any reference, whether it is fire prevention, fire suppression, fire engineering or even fire education, his name is invoked as being among the first in this nation to be an advocate of fire and life safety.

Franklin as a printer

However, Franklin was most proud of his chosen trade: a printer. He made his fortune as a writer. Poor Richard’s Almanac was only one of his efforts to convert ideas into words and to act upon them in a meaningful manner. He had a profound impact not only on the fire service but upon our government, the insurance industry, our lifestyles, and the sense of self-assessment that still rings clear in contemporary society.

One of his efforts was to create the JUNTO — a club for mutual improvement — in 1736 which resulted in the creation of the first lending library, the creation of a volunteer fire company, the national postal system, and the insurance industry. All of these institutions exist in contemporary society today.

Franklin left a huge legacy of written products. He encouraged writers to “go on record” as to their beliefs, their observations, and their support of both public and private initiatives. Through the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writers Award, the NFHC encourages today’s fire writers to do the same.