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.
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.