By Marsha S. Holland, FASNY Fire Prevention and Life Safety Committee Chair
We all know that fire prevention is the most “boring” part of the fire service. It also doesn’t get the attention like every other aspect of firefighting. Be honest … you joined the fire service to fight fires, not prevent them.
Even though we don’t want people to get hurt or lose everything they have, we still want to have the opportunity to battle those flames! After all, if we teach fire prevention, then we don’t get to do what we love most.
As bad as that thought is, we must remember that our communities look to us to keep them safe from that horrible nightmare called fire. They know we will be there to put the fire out, but they also want to know how to prevent a fire in their own homes and how to escape in the event they are caught in one.
Did you know … that you are a hero in the eyes of children and adults? Teaching them how to protect themselves from fire just adds to their already positive view of you as a firefighter. Senior citizens love to see you no matter what, and when you add to the visit by teaching them how to be fire-safe or prevent unnecessary accidents, they will interact with you and ask some very interesting questions. They are the most appreciative people!
Children, on the other hand, look up to you already because they know you as a protector of their safety. Depending on the age range, there can either be some humorous or interesting questions. Teaching them is very rewarding.
Did you know … that you don’t have to be a “certified” instructor to teach fire prevention and life safety? You can teach by what you already know as a firefighter! You know:
- How to protect yourself when putting out a fire (show off your turnout gear)
- How to use a fire extinguisher (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep)
- How to be fire-safe in the kitchen and other areas of the home
- How to be safe during the holidays
Use what you know and make it fun!
Did you know … how easy it is to find resources to help with your fire prevention and life safety presentations? You are not alone when looking for ideas relative to these subjects. The first place you can check is FASNY’s website www.preventfiresny.com. This site offers tips for open houses, printable materials, checklists, safety tips and links to many other resources.
There are a lot of other sites that offer downloadable information as well. Once you type the words “fire prevention” or “life safety” into your browser, a whole new world of information is at your fingertips!
Did you know … that you can ramp up your community’s ISO rating by participating in fire prevention? If you do have a fire prevention and life safety educator within your department, it is a big plus! In addition, if you keep good records of all life safety and fire prevention activities that your department participates in, this will help when the time comes for your next review. A simple log sheet that lists the dates and times; venues; number and age range of participants; and the subjects covered would be a great start.
Did you know … that you can make it as fun and informative as you want? Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to promote fire prevention and life safety, whether it’s a tour of your fire hall, visiting a senior center or talking to a group of school students.
A little up-front knowledge of who your audience is will be the driver of your presentation. If you are presenting to senior citizens, you don’t have to tailor your “talk,” because they will understand you as long as you don’t get technical – use common, everyday language. If your audience is going to be small children, you just need to have a little fun with your presentation – get down on the floor with them, put on your turnout gear, show them what you are talking about and get them involved!
Fire prevention and life safety education doesn’t have to be complicated – or boring – so, get out there and have some fun!