Whether your department is prepared to devote plenty of time to Fire Prevention Week or barely has a moment to spare and no budget, there are numerous resources you can provide your community members to stay fire safe.
Ahead of Fire Prevention Week, the National Volunteer Fire Council hosted a livestreamed chat – “Getting Your Department and Community Ready for Fire Prevention Week” – to help departments with fire prevention efforts. The panel discussion featured Michael McLeieer of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association, Andrea Vastis of the NFPA, and Bruce Bouch of the U.S. Fire Administration, offering resources fire departments can use, many of which are free, to aid their FPW efforts.
“When we think about the volunteer fire departments, we often say, ‘well, you know, they don’t have money,’ but they also don’t always have time and dedicated staff,” Vastis said. “We are able to offer things like tip sheets, lesson plans, social media assets, and curricula and community toolkits that are done – that are ready.”
Vastis added that if Fire Prevention Week is a department’s sole fire prevention effort for the year, it is a great opportunity to widen public awareness of your department and of prevention information for the community. The same holds true for departments that use FPW as a culmination of prevention efforts and a time for celebration. Additionally, Bouch suggested partnering with other first responder organizations to provide public safety resources.
6 free resources and content sources:
- USFA has a webpage dedicated to fire prevention and public education. It includes articles, handouts to print and distribute, visuals to use on social media, and other resources.
- NFPA offers teaching tools for educators and parents to use with children, which include lesson plans, tip sheets and Sparky the Fire Dog videos.
- NFPA maintains public education resources, and information on escape planning for older adults will come soon, Vastis said.
- Sparky.org offers children’s activities, videos and games.
- The American Red Cross has fire safety checklists and fact sheets in multiple languages.
- Ready.gov offers information for the public about disasters and emergencies and how to plan for them.
There are many ways to use these resources to reach the community – social media, websites, events or outdoor signs. Also consider contacting local media to cover Fire Prevention Week, bringing attention to not only the life safety messages but also your department’s work to keep the community safe.
Bouch reminded the livestream viewers that Assistance to Firefighters grants are available. He also suggested working with businesses that can financially support fire safety efforts.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”