Fire-ED Champions

Fire and Life Safety Education Needs Unique Champions

Firefox Fire Solutions is a unique fire and life safety education champion

Wayne Wald, President at Firefox Fire Solutions, Inc., is not a fire and life safety educator; he’s an entrepreneur, making his living selling top of the line equipment and proven solutions to fire departments. “Our business is helping fire departments in their communities to acquire the resources they need to do their job better and more efficiently” said Wald. Firefox Fire Solutions, an Edmonton, Alberta based company provides innovative and technologically advanced products to the fire service and has recently added Fire-ED to its select choice of deliverables.

When Firefox was developing its relationships with First Nations Communities it was clearly evident that fire prevention was a dire need

We found that while first nations communities lacked the necessities for fire protection, like working firefighting apparatus and protective equipment, many vendors realized the challenges in doing business with these communities. There are definite challenges in working with first nations, which is why many vendors avoid this market, though this is a vertical market that Firefox needed to be involved in to meet many of the critical needs for fire protection and education.

Shortly after Firefox’s first working encounter with a First Nation community, they came across an opportunity to assist the federal government with a request to purchase combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Firefox assisted in fulfilling the requisition resulting in that purchase being awarded to the vendor.

It wasn’t long after that Firefox learned of a tragic loss of life in one First Nation’s community. Nine people, including six children, lost their lives in a preventable house fire where there were no working smoke alarms. Ironically, that community had received 1,000 smoke alarms from the federal purchase, but they’d not been installed.

I’ve been struck by the lack of fire prevention education programs in those communities, Said Wald. When nine people lose their lives in a house fire because there were no working smoke alarms, yet there were 1,000 smoke alarms that hadn’t been installed, that’s a tragedy that could have been avoided. Fire-ED Interactive meets and exceeds the recommendations as outlined by the Coroner’s offices of BC and Ontario for  developing and adopting  public education programs.

Hear what other unique champions have to say about public perception, adding to fire and life safety education challenges

Rita Paine is a fire and life safety educator and trainer with more than 25-years of experience in the industry. “The average person, in any community, does not understand how dangerous fire really is. They think fire won’t happen to them or their family. They believe fire is something that happens to other people. But fire doesn’t discriminate. It attacks the rich and poor alike.”

When Wald learned of the Fire-ED Interactive System for teaching fire and life safety education, it “triggered” the champion in him. “I saw that tragic loss of life as the symptom of a bigger problem,” Wald said. “What good is it if a smoke alarm is in a home, but people don’t know what to do when it goes off or how to take care of it, something as simple as changing a battery!!? I felt there was much more that Firefox Fire Solutions could be doing.”

Wald was connected with Fire-ED’s founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Tracy Last, on Linked In. He checked in with Ms. Last to learn more about the programs she has been developing for many years that address “the fire problem.” The off-shoot of that connection is a collaborative effort between Firefox and Fire-ED to conduct a Discovery Event of the Fire-ED Interactive System for a group of children ages 6-12 years at the Calvary Community Out of School Center in Edmonton on July 19, 2017.

READ MORE: Do Your Kids Know What To Do In A House Fire – Global TV Edmonton – Family Matters

Wald has invited Global Television, fire chiefs, deputy chiefs, fire prevention officers, and civic leaders from Edmonton and the surrounding areas to the event. Said Wald, “We want to give them the opportunity to see the Fire-ED Interactive System being used to teach children proper fire safety behaviors. And we also want them to see first-hand what a necessary resource Fire-ED is for their departments and their communities.”

READ MORE: Firefox Fire Solutions Press Release

Barriers to fire departments and how Fire-ED lends the helping hand

According to Fire-ED Founder and Program Developer Tracy Last, “Too many fire departments in Canada face real barriers in their efforts to provide this type of education to the children in their communities.” Last describes those barriers as being: (1) a lack of fire service personnel and time to deliver fire and life safety education programs, (2) a lack of funding and expertise to develop and produce effective educational programs; and (3) a lack of funding to support the ongoing development and delivery of fire and life safety education programs.

Joanne Held is Fire-ED customer and the Fire Chief for the Malakwa Volunteer Fire Department in BC. “I remember one of the first times that I used Fire-ED “Fully Involved” Teaching Tool in our community,” Held said. “That evening I received a phone call from a parent asking me what in the world was I teaching his two sons?” The parent went on to say that his two boys had come home from her class and they said they weren’t going to bed until their parents changed their bedroom around. Chief Held is so impressed by the Fire-ED Interactive System that she has become an advocate stating it should be in every single school in British Columbia and Worldwide!

Parents staying to watch my course realized  they had no understanding of the need for a home fire escape plan which included secondary means of escape. That really drove home for me the importance of what I was trying to do by bringing the Fire-ED  Interactive System to Malakwa in the first place. That experience convinced me of the impact that champions—like those two boys who wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to moving those bunkbeds—can have concerning fire safety for their family.

Potential Fire and Life Safety Champions are Everywhere

Are you a unique champion in your community? You could be. As could just about anyone in your community because the Fire-ED Interactive System was developed on the premise that the knowledge, skills, and abilities for people to avoid becoming a victim of a preventable fire can be taught by anyone. Anyone, that is, who has the desire, the motivation—and most importantly—an educational delivery system that’s been developed by professional fire and life safety educators for use by both fire service personnel and non-fire service folks.

So, who would make some of the best unique Fire-ED champions?

  • Fire department line personnel. Why should every firefighter get behind fire and life safety education efforts in their communities? “When I ask firefighters (during classes I teach) why they became a firefighter, they typically answer that it was to put out big fires,” said Rita Paine. “So, I say, ‘You didn’t become a firefighter to pull dead bodies out of buildings?’ and of course they say no. That’s when I tell them that fire and life safety education is the only way for them to keep from having to pull dead bodies out of buildings so they can do what they signed up for—putting out big fires.”
  • Fire service leaders. Fire Chiefs for departments that are successful at obtaining the financial support and resources to do its job recognize that public support for the fire department is crucial. So, where’s the downside for having the fire department’s personnel actively involved in delivering fire and life safety programs using an “out-of-the-box” solution like Fire-ED Interactive? Think about this: more interaction with children, who then go home and actively interact with their parents about fire safety issues (Like Chief Held’s two young pupils!). Those same parents who vote.
  • Community action groups. Groups like Safe Kids Worldwide Coalitions, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and service groups such as the Kiwanis, Rotary Club, and Lions Club, can be sources for champions, especially champions for fund-raising efforts that can bring the Fire-ED Interactive System to any community or school.
  • Local government officials and civic leaders. What local government is not charged with looking out for the good and welfare of everyone in the community? Isn’t that why we have public safety functions in a community like the fire department, law enforcement, and EMS? Help them become informed and educated about FLSE needs in your community and how Fire-ED Interactive can meet those needs. See what kind of champions come forth.

Outsourcing Fire and Life Safety Education: A New Paradigm to Save Lives

All would agree that nobody should die from a preventable fire, yes? Especially children?

Good. Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about fire and life safety education and those ongoing preventable fire deaths so far happening in 2017 (click here for current numbers) these and more fire-related injuries are continuing to rise in the U.S, Canada and worldwide.

My fire service colleagues across North America and globally would all agree, that preventing fires is not only about reducing fire-related deaths and injuries in the civilian population, fire prevention is the #1 way to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries as well!

Most of us active in the fire service, or retired from it, have heard an awful lot of the same “worn out songs” coming across the radio! I’m preaching to the choir when I share these familiar titles:

  • “We’ve Got to Quit Paying Lip-service to Fire Prevention”
  • “Fire Prevention Should be a Part of Every Firefighters Job”
  • “Fire Prevention is Always the First Program that Gets Cut During Budget Reductions”

Continuing to sing the “same old song” is not going to change a thing…

We are not changing a thing singing the old song and neither is delivering it using the same “radio” going to work. We’ve got to change how we as a fire service AND we as a community work in order to have a positive influence on people and their behavior when it comes to fire prevention and education and saving lives. However, what we can get better at is outsourcing!

If current methodologies lack significant impact, change the paradigm! Start the paradigm shift by outsourcing (to programs such as Fire-ED)

To paraphrase a popular management mantra for change these days, “What got you here, won’t get you there. But first let’s admit, the current state of prevention education programs available has gone to lunch and for what we do have it’s mostly just “one-way” communication: We deliver a message with the expectation that the recipients of that message will act upon the information. How is that working for us!? Why are we stuck and not embracing innovation?

Currently most of the fire service delivers fire and life safety messaging via means such as:

  • Static Displays in conjunction with other community events, e.g., art festivals, 5K races, and the like
  • Public Service Announcements over television and radio
  • School programs for children in grades K-5
  • Open houses at the fire station

Here is some current fire-related data to help paint the picture

This is the only data that we can find that has been reported to the U.S. Fire Administration by fire departments through the National Fire Incident Reporting System, noted that approximately 40 percent of fire departments do not currently provide that data to the USFA.

Figure 2. Causes of fatal residential building fires in 2015. U.S. Fire Administration. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/

This data indicates that our current fire and life safety education efforts are not being effective, so what can we do? Read on…

The only source of credible fire and life safety education programs comes from the local fire department. But too few of those “programs” have true educational value. Subject matter experts agree we can change that with programs that are readily available for us and can be outsourced.

Figure 3. Causes of residential building fires resulting in injuries in 2015. (Estimated 7,500 fires that caused injuries. U.S. Fire Administration. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/

So we see it is clearly evident that current programs are not meeting the critical need and are long on teaching reactive behaviors, not proactive behaviors. That’s a concern, why? Because….

MYTH #1: Talking to adults and children about the need for working smoke alarms in their home, and having a home fire escape plan, are both important, but assume that a fire cannot be prevented so you must be prepared.

MYTH #2: Teaching children “stop, drop, and roll” and how to call 911 to report a fire are likewise based on the assumption that a fire cannot be prevented.

MYTH #3: Conducting fire station tours and showing children and their parents fire trucks and equipment and handing out plastic fire helmets and Junior Fire Marshal stickers is not fire and life safety education. This myth is more aligned with marketing the fire department.

The average fire department spends less than one percent of its total operating budget on fire prevention

The paltry sum of only 1% or less devoted to fire prevention is typically divided amongst three fire prevention activities: fire code enforcement, fire investigations, and public fire education (the latter mostly targeted at children is close to obsolete). That’s not meant to be an indictment on those fire departments who spend meager sums on prevention. Some departments are doing the best they can with the people and dollars they have available. But there are also too many fire departments who do nothing in the sphere of public fire education, for children or adults. They either lack the resources or the will to teach people how to avoid becoming a victim of a preventable fire. But help is near….

A New Paradigm for Teaching Fire and Life Safety Education

The Fire-ED Interactive Gold Seal for Community Safety Facilitator Curriculum What does any other company or organization do when it doesn’t have the people or resources to carry out part of its mission? They outsource it to a third party. There is now a readily available third party that fire departments can turn to and start delivering a fire and life safety education program that has educational value. It’s called Fire-ED Interactive.

The Fire-ED Interactive System is based upon the premise that the knowledge, skills, and abilities for people to avoid becoming a victim of a preventable fire can be taught by anyone. Anyone, that is, who has the desire, the motivation—and most importantly—an educational delivery system that’s been developed by professional fire and life safety educators for use by both fire service personnel and non-fire service folks.

Let us be proactive as a fire service and implement the Fire-ED Interactive System for changing fire and life safety behaviors in communities nationwide.

Firefighters Take The “Fully Involved” Teaching Tool For A Burn

Firefighters make good public fire and life safety educators

Firefighters Fire-ED Kids WorkshopPublic education is a job made easy with teaching tools kids love and respond well to. Firefighters do make good public fire life safety educators when they have good resources and the “Fully Involved” Fire-ED Teaching Tool has been on the wish list in this Vancouver lower mainland community since the day the firefighters trialed it.

The presentation impressed everyone in the room that day, including the Fire Chief of this department. The Chief said this teaching tool was very convenient and his firefighters agreed. They said they’ve never seen such a great resource as this before. It is now their hope to soon purchase one for the department and the mission to raise the funding has begun.

Community Direct Teaching Model Reaches More People

Teaching kids at a young age increases the likelihood of developing life long skills needed to become responsible teens and adults. The beauty of this particular program is it is designed for all ages to participate. It is a Direct Teaching Model for educating more people, more often, for less money than traditional systems. What we mean by this is junior high school and senior high school students can become involved as helpers to the firefighters and learn safety skills themselves. This is very appealing as these age groups are very hard to reach otherwise. And once they are cooking at home, gone off to college or moving out on their own this becomes a missed demographic.

TESTIMONIAL “Teaching tools should be engaging, interactive, educational, easy to use, and easy to maintain. It’s a bonus for a program to be applicable to all ages, can be used in a variety of settings and easily presented by firefighters, prevention personnel or teachers. When I find a tool that meets all this criteria, then price becomes secondary. The “Fully Involved” Fire-ED Teaching Tool certainly meets my expectations and can be used by firefighters to take to the schools and use as part of their teaching practicums. Justifying the purchase of this resource is easy, whether it’s to your Fire Chief, community partners, or private funding agencies.” Rita Paine

A Key to Community

This is far more than just a kit of well designed colorful teaching aids. The key to community is the “Direct Teaching Model” that any service group, school, scouting or girl guide club, library, or recreation center can use. This proprietary teaching model allows the fire service to offer support on an “as needed” basis. When the fire department buys this resource they can expand their public educator “teaching cadre” by allowing trained “Community Safety Facilitators” to access the resource and teach it in after school programs and day camps etc. This tool could and should be out in the community 24/7/365.

More Prevention, to More People, For Less Money?

It is a requirement of the fire service, to bring prevention education to community but in far too many Canadian and USA communities the public is not receiving the education. Fire-ED meets and exceeds the critical need as stressed in the recent BC and Ontario Coroner’s Recommendations to improve such programming. Fire-ED is more than a resource, it is a complete community involvement strategy, one that is fully capable of being set up as completely stand alone to the fire service programs.

Modern Day Solutions for Today’s Public Educators

Firefights Fire-ED Kids WorkshopThis Fully Involved Fire-ED Teaching Tool presentation successfully demonstrated to firefighters how the visual aids in the kit help make the station tours more engaging and rewarding for children. Most importantly, all of the young participants leave with newly developed fire and life safety skills to share with the family. Furthermore, what’s yet to be revealed, is the program’s technology capability that enables facilitators to provide testing and track and submit the results (stats) to provincial and national databases.

Traditionally fire station tours consist of equipment and turnout gear demonstrations alongside children being to sit in the fire trucks. Often times props are used, like a sign with a graphic of matches and lighters and if time permits children might be shown a video or be read a story book. Occasional open houses are hosted to attract large crowds. You will find face painting stations, mascots walking about, and other fun, but not necessarily educational, “measurable” activities. Fire-ED is the scaleable solution that is still entertaining but with a lasting impact proven by the testing component that measures comprehension of the safety lessons delivered through this incredible resource. 

Read More Fire-ED Interactive Testimonials

Training Firefighters Social Entrepreneurs for Prevention

In North America hundreds of people die in preventable house fires every year. Diminishing fire dept budgets affect public education programs causing a “fire problem”.

Tune in for universal lessons on working with your heart, not taking no for an answer, and discover the good fight firefighter social entrepreneurs fight in order to change the public education landscape CLICK HERE TO LISTEN IN

It takes quite a passionate influencer for social change to truly impress upon me but this mission to eliminate preventable fires needs a world of change agents to make a difference, so let’s do this together starting now! There is no denying the passion firefighters have for saving lives and property. In my career I’ve met changemakers who are doing good all over the world but the potential for vastly restoring community life safety begins with the combination of social entrepreneur mentors for firefighters.

Whether on my podcast The Voices Of Social Change, through my work with startup social entrepreneurs, or consulting work with social ventures, I’ve seen firsthand what it means to be on the front lines of social change. In this podcast we unravel the meaning behind this mission to bring social change and social entrepreneurship into the way our communities teach kids how NOT to become victims of fire through Fire-ED.

Follow the Fire-ED Community Podcast as we take a no-holds-barred approach to creating a new wave for the way prevention education is delivered to communities. To request an interview Contact Us.

Created by Katemangostar - Freepik.com

We Need Real-Time Public Education

Fire and life safety education saved this family – knowledge not technology.

There was a fire on January 18, 2016 in Blue Mountains, Ontario, it was in an 80-year old farmhouse. Thirteen people (4 adults and 9 children under 16 years of age) were asleep. All thirteen people escaped the fire, since they responded correctly when the smoke alarms sounded. Arriving firefighters found the house fully engulfed in flames; no injuries to occupants.

The fire prevention and education programs enforced by the fire dept. is what saved these people – knowledge instead of technology.

Since legislators seem to be reluctant to develop a law mandating fire sprinklers, perhaps a more aggressive approach to educating and training everyone – developing resilience – would work better, faster. We cannot win them all, even with the best technology, as long as human unpredictability is a factor. Situational awareness for citizens has a greater chance of saving lives.

The above statement was made to an article that I wrote and posted in one of the LinkedIn Groups and it comes from Michael Dube, a Certified Organizational Resilience Specialist (CORS), in Ontario, Canada. My theme in the article was that we–the fire service in particular–have to become more active in advocating, and yes demanding, that residential fire sprinklers be a requirement for all new residential housing regardless of its size.

Fire and Life Safety Educator, Samantha Hoffmann, of Barrie Fire and Emergency Services, posted this comment and I could not agree more:

Get media reporting on why people are not dying in fires instead of those who are. What steps are they taking to survive?

Mainstream media is great but don’t forget we have more communication channels than ever in the history of the human race…..


We have to get better at capturing the success story when it happens with our own “on-scene” interviews with fire survivors telling their story in real time. When the fear and thankfulness are still in their eyes and their voices. And when they are the ones saying:

“When I heard the smoke alarm going off…”

“Honey (Mom looking at her child), you were so brave! You got you and your sister out of the house just like we practiced.”

“When we couldn’t get down the hallway to the boys’ bedroom [on second floor] we hoped and prayed they remembered how to get out. Our hearts burst with relief and joy when we saw the escape ladder hanging from the window and our two boys standing by the big oak tree.”

Those messages would be much more powerful than the same story told days, weeks, or even months later with Mom, Dad, and their four children sitting in the [Insert any sterile location that has no connection to the fire, e.g., TV studio or relative’s living room].

And delivering that message via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., would be getting that story to more people via their primary means of getting information today: their smartphones and tablets, not the 6:00 pm local news broadcast.

Radical idea you might say? Not so…………. Consider this:

People don’t wear their seatbelts nor do they drink and drive because we told them “warm & fuzzy” stories of why they should adopt those behaviors, do they? No, people buckle up in their cars and they don’t drink and drive because of news coverage and public safety announcements (PSAs) that emphasized the terrible outcomes–with powerful graphics and images and words–that drove home the message. Like today’s campaigns to stop drivers from texting while driving.

Feature image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com

Since when is leadership just about a title, or a designation, what about the rest?

There are certain beliefs I see as “pillars of understanding” such as fundamentals we all act upon based on our own experiences.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers”. ~Robin S. Sharma

There’s a significant amount of truth to this quote by Robin S. Sharma. After spending over 20 years in the training industry, there are certain beliefs that I have come to see as “pillars of understanding”.

These pillars of understanding I often times refer to are fundamentals we all act upon based on our own experience and values. I’ve watched many people over the years display their core beliefs while in the vulnerability of the training classroom. When we open ourselves up for new ideas, it’s amazing what traits and beliefs surface.

One such belief is that because we may hold a certain position in our community, or in our organization, then we are already leaders. Just because of the position! Now many of us would probably say, “of course not!!!” But it is amazing how at a deeply rooted level, this belief does come out in behaviors. And as we know our behaviors are tell tale signs of what we truly value. We should not act in ways that contradicts our thoughts.

Once while I was coaching a group of managers, we discussed how as managers we sometimes ask people to do things that are against their personal values. I shared an example of one student of mine, a manager, who would ask their assistant to tell “little white lies” on their behalf.

Little white lies say for example, when a staff member would want to speak with the boss and the boss would get their assistant to tell the employee they are tied up “in a meeting”, when they weren’t. They just wanted to avoid the conversation. The assistant over time grew very uncomfortable with having to comply with their superior’s request. When they approached their manager to discuss how this undermined their values, the manager replied “I’m your boss, you do as I ask”. Needless to say the employee didn’t take long to move on to a new position with a new leader.

When I was having this discussion with the group of managers I was coaching, it was interesting to see how many aligned with the boss. Their thoughts were that this was silly on the part of the employee, everyone does it and yes, as the boss you get to ask people to do things, and they must comply. These individuals believed it was the position (of being a boss) that dictates the right to “lead” by this example. Entitlement is what this is, and every good leader knows, living this way is not a great existence.

Entitlement

Todays's Friday challenge word is: Entitlement. People with a sense of entitlement do not learn, earn, or return. http://bit.ly/1lNgBpD

Posted by John C. Maxwell on Friday, December 11, 2015

The influences that a leader has on his/her organization are felt at all levels. People don’t follow because they feel they need to do so, they follow because the leader demonstrates integrity and values that they themselves connect to. When a leader shows that ignoring the values of others on behalf of furthering their own agenda, the majority of the people will see the organization as an environment that doesn’t foster trust.

When there is a low level of trust or none at all, companies start to fall apart. Relationships break down and people go to where they feel valued and honored.

In many organizations, real leaders are often found within the departments at the level of general staff. The ground floor of the organization. These are the kinds of folks I find to be the best at getting things done, the individual of whom when directives are given have the greatest influence on how these initiatives are handled. These are the individuals everyone seems to gravitate to. So why is that? Why aren’t they managers or department heads?  They clearly have influence. People would follow them just because they are the boss right?

Not true. People follow them because of how they make others feel. They are inspiring by living in according to their beliefs and values. They set the example for all others to follow. They have you believing you can do anything, and this is so because they themselves believe it. Their position in the company doesn’t determine this influence. Their behaviors do.

Watch for these folks who have impact, they influence others and they inspire many to be better than we thought we could be. These are true leaders.

Now let’s go out and leave a positive impact on the world!

Coroner’s Inquest into Fire Deaths (BC and ON) — Resolution to Recommendations

In an effort to strengthen its alliance, and reduce fire related childhood deaths and injury across North America, the Fire-ED Interactive Community welcomes organizations and individuals to join its Task Force of subject matter experts, and concerned citizens, helping to revolutionize the way prevention education is delivered to communities.

The Fire-ED Interactive Community for Eliminating Preventable Fires has the readily available training, teaching tools and new technology to satisfy fire prevention education requirements and the following initiatives:


At Fire-ED we are all for a little less talk and a lot more action and have a great support network to take prevention education to great new heights. Your effort to introduce the “Fully Involved” Fire-ED Teaching Tool to your community will enable children the opportunity to grow to their full life potential while youth of all ages, and adults, learn by teaching through The Fire-ED Interactive System.

Prevention Education: A Little Less Talk and a lot More Action

Yet another First Nations news story of a tragic and preventable fire that has had a devastating impact on a small community in Canada.

Does anyone else see the pattern here or is it just me? After 6 kids, one aged 12 and the rest younger, set fire to a structure, gravely affecting the community’s well being, where are the programs to help these children understand the consequences? How many members of the general public know we truly have a very real fire problem and want to see some action get taken? We all know where all talk no action gets us, and to us this looks like more of where that came from: We would like to see the Manitoba and federal governments help develop a fire prevention program on First Nations to educate youth about fire safety.” 

So how about a little less talk and a lot more action!?

After years of seeing the same old same old pattern of too much talk and not enough action I boldly confess; there are many in position of power and able do something, but they aren’t. Want to see if for yourself? Just read the 2016 BC and Ontario Coroner’s reports and recommendations to address the fire problem at hand.

It’s particularly “heartburn inducing” to read stories like these around Fire Prevention Week.

A sad commentary, for sure, on the lack of funding guidance, direction and funding that fire service organizations put towards sound public fire and life safety education programming, training and resources.

But what we do see a lot of is millions of dollars being spent on misleading “fire and life safety education” efforts. Fire stations tend to be more focused on buying and providing giveaways, such as plastic fire helmets, coloring books, pencils, erasers, and temporary tattoos, over investing in curriculum development and measurable educational programs. These fire department promotional efforts are more akin to propaganda and marketing. Not that marketing isn’t important for a fire department for when the community is to know what they department does and what it needs. There is a difference. Clarity is key.

So, instead of “throwing their hands up” every time a preventable fire tragedy happens, how about let’s see the [Insert Name of Province or State] and federal governments help develop a fire prevention program in [Insert Name of Community] to educate youth about fire safety. Local, state and provincial, and federal government leaders just have not had access to “true public fire and life safety education curriculum” but now with programs like what Fire-ED has to offer these authorities can finally step up and take some real action by adopting and implementing readily available, and proven, resources.

True fire and life safety education, especially for children, requires high-quality and well-designed and thought out teaching tools that “tap into” a child’s preferred method of learning, “hands on” learning. The “Fully Involved” Fire-ED Teaching Tool is just such a resource that’s proven itself with fire and life safety educators in locations across North America. Most importantly, Fire-ED provides the training, there is a critical need for not only tools and resources for doing a great job at teaching, but training the trainer is almost no-existent.

A 12-year-old boy from the community was one of six children who RCMP believe were involved in setting the blaze on Thursday afternoon. The other five children are under 12 and cannot be charged. Nepinak said he would like to see the Manitoba and federal governments help develop a fire prevention program on First Nations to educate youth about fire safety. READ MORE

It’s not a matter of “if” another preventable fire tragedy will happen, we all unfortunately know that it’s only a matter of “when” so tap into Fire-ED and help reduce the amount of “future” preventable fires.

Developing Public Education Programs – Do Something BIG

Let’s do something big and think like a business in the business of public education!

If we treated public education like a business the fire service would be miles ahead. Businesses stay in business by offering solutions to known problems, or to problems their customers might not even know they have. As a fire service, are we pushing ourselves out of the business by not providing solutions to a very real and well known problem, the fire problem? Many of us are.

We all know the problems are real and exist, but as a “business” not always do we deliver the best solutions to our “customer”. 

When we can save time and money why aren’t we? Just by tapping into readily available resources that meet the critical need and address the ‘fire problem’ we would be miles ahead. We do have access to codes and standards like NFPA 1730, as a guide to develop cutting edge public education programs, but are we doing much of this?

When developing, or sourcing, public education resources we should focus on programs that are interactive, engaging and provide maximum benefit to the community. Determining which programs provide the greatest value can be found by reviewing the data collected in the Community Risk Assessment (CRA).

Interpreting data and identifying risks helps keep the focus on programs that are most needed.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Collect the data.  Data can be collected from a variety of sources and should include local population and census information, socio-econcomic indicators, fire department run reports, and local or national trends.
  2. Compare the data.  The collected data should then be analyzed to find trends and common, or frequently, occurring incidents.  These incidents can then be broken down by population data such as age group, socio-economic status, and geographical area of occurrence.
  3. Identify the risks.  The risks that the data shows will become the basis for your public education program.  Public education efforts should be designed to reduce or mitigate these community risks.
  4. Identify root causes.  The public education program should address the actual root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. To get to the root cause will require more in-depth analysis of the identified risks.
  5. Define goals and objectives.  The best objectives are S.M.A.R.T. objectives:
    S – specific
    M – measurable
    A – achievable
    R – realistic
    T – time-based
  6. Develop strategic partners. Reach out to other public and private organizations in the community.  They will have a shared interest in your program and may provide additional resources and/or funds.
  7. Develop the program. Create the public education programming, elements, and deliverables. Prior to spending a large amount of time creating a program from scratch, explore the many ready-made resources that are available.  Get the program started and out to the public, do not get stuck in a planning and preparing mode!
  8. Implement the program.  Deliver the program.  Don’t worry about everything being perfect, just get your program to the audience that needs it.  You can always make changes and tweaks as the program grows.
  9. Evaluate the process and impact measures.  Your program should be regularly evaluated to ensure that you are reaching your target audience, and the message you want conveyed is being received.
  10. Modify as needed.  Within a set time-frame the program should be reviewed to determine its impact.  If changes to the message, audience, or delivery are needed then make them.

Chasing programs can take much time, money, and resources spent on a program that still might not be solving the ‘fire problem’.

With the many public education options available it is easy to go for the program that has the most funding, the best resources, or something the individual educator enjoys. Regardless, education cannot take the back seat anymore! NFPA 1730 is timely and fantastic for those of us needing to freshen up our pub ed efforts. These guidelines will help you get a new take to some of the existing curriculums, that you can build upon. Get these tools in your hand so you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel. Here are some terrific examples:


Public Education Resources by Target Audience