What is your department doing for National Fire Prevention Week?

By: Robert Avsec

Source: NFPA.org

DYK, it’s only 17 weeks until the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week 2019? Hard to believe, right? Seems like it was just last week (But truth be known, it should seem like it was just last week, as every week should be Fire Prevention Week, am I right?).

So, what will you and your department be doing come that first full week in October? Station open house? Demonstrations using a residential fire sprinkler simulator? Giving away coloring books and plastic helmets and Junior Fire Marshal badges?

None of those activities, and probably most of the others that fire departments undertake as fire prevention activities, during National Fire Prevention Week are really teaching people how to avoid becoming a victim of a preventable fire. Period.

And why is that? Because most of what is presented by fire departments as fire prevention and fire safety education is really marketing of the fire department. There’s not a lot of learning taking place and the activities, for the most part, are focused on children. But 75 percent of fires in the U.S. are caused by adult human behavior.

Break the mold this year

 I’m going to introduce you to four women that you and your fire department should get to know between now and National Fire Prevention Week 2019.

  • Samantha Hoffmann, Fire Prevention Officer, Barrie (ON) Fire and Emergency Service
  • Tanya Bettridge, Public Educator/Administrator Perth East (ON) Fire Department
  • Jennifer Cooper, Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Prevention / Public Education Officer at Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville (ON) Fire and Emergency Services
  • Tracy Last, Fire and Life Safety Education Strategist, Owner and Developer of Fire-ED Interactive Community

Why? Because I’ve worked with all of them and they are truly “rock stars” when it comes to true fire and life safety education that targets children and adults alike.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll introduce you to each of them so that you can see what I’m so excited about! First, I give you:

Fire Prevention Officer Samantha Hoffmann

Samantha Hoffmann, Fire Prevention Officer, Barrie (ON) Fire and Emergency Service

What do cats and yoga and social media have to do with fire and life safety education? Well, if you’re Samantha Hoffmann, everything. See for yourself!

This quote from Larry Brassard, Fire Chief, Gravenhurst Fire Department sums it up nicely:

Excellent Samantha – BFES [Barrie Fire and Emergency Services] has exceptional outreach. I think we all must be actively searching for a variety of ways to reach out to the different segments of our communities and social media is an imperative for us all. We’re still learning…. cats, who knew? YOU!

Samantha and her colleagues at BFES are outstanding creators of visual messages that really convey key fire and life safety messaging—usually with a musical “ear worm” that stays with you for hours!B

Here’s what Samantha posted to accompany the above video back in December 2018:

The latest stats are in and the deaths continue to grow. 98 DEAD in fires in Ontario. 98 is not just a number, these are friends families, co-workers.

Every 3 1/2 days in the province a person dies in a fire. With our latest holiday parody we used clips from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

A classic movie that is 30 years old yet the same fire safety messages are needed. Prevent fires before they start, install and maintain smoke/CO alarms and develop and practice an escape plan. Enjoy our take on this favorite holiday song. Be safe and please share this post with your friends and families.

Samantha Hoffman on LinkedIn, December 2018

For more examples of great ideas to use in visually communicating fire and life safety messages in your community, visit Samantha’s LinkedIn Page https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-hoffmann-477b9918/detail/recent-activity/shares/

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, rpa1157@gmail.com.