One of the most important tasks undertaken by a local fire department is educating community members on the importance of fire safety.
Research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association shows that most members of your community do not understand the risks that fire brings and the proper precautions that should be taken to protect their homes and their families.
The research produced the following results:
One of the best ways to promote home fire safety is to conduct home fire safety visits in your local community. These visits allow residents to learn firsthand from respected safety authorities and build connections and trust with local first responders. Ultimately, they can save lives.
Use these three tips to have effective home fire safety visits and better promote fire safety in your community.
The key to a successful home fire safety canvas is that residents are at home and willing to welcome firefighters in. Preparation can help ensure that these two factors coincide for your local fire department.
Schedule the event at least a month in advance. Aim for evening hours and weekends in order to maximize your chances of finding residents at home.
Partner with a community health worker or other community organizations to help promote your event. They can publicize the home visits on social media, in the newspaper, and even on the evening news. It is also helpful to have volunteers go door-to-door several days before the event and speak with residents or leave fliers with information for those who aren’t home.
If going door-to-door isn’t feasible in your community, try holding public events at the library or town hall that include games, food, and family fun in addition to critical fire information and training. This will help everyone in your community—including children—become more aware and invested in your department and fire safety.
Statistics show that the amount of time for residents to escape a home fire has drastically changed in recent years. Three decades ago, residents had about 17 minutes to evacuate. Now, they have 2 minutes.
That’s why life-saving devices are so important in every home.
Many fire departments choose to offer installation of a free home fire alarm system or carbon monoxide detector as part of their visit. It can also be helpful to have new batteries on hand to replace dead batteries in systems residents may already have. This simple, free service is a great way to incentivize people to make room on their schedules and will help you get better responses.
It’s also the perfect time to promote home fire sprinklers.
When it comes to educating your community, you are not on your own. The U.S. Fire Administration and Home Sprinkler Coalition offer a variety of free and accredited resources that you can use to illustrate important safety topics and give helpful advice to the citizens you serve. Here, you can find helpful handouts and ideas to get your community more engaged in fire safety.
For more training tips and resources, check out CareerCert’s courses “Fire Prevention and Public Education” as well as our library of resources for fire leaders to improve their department’s training so they can better protect against loss of life and property.