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Fire Prevention Week: A Good Time to Reflect

The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week suggests that the public should take time to look for places where a fire could start. Learn the sound of the smoke alarm in the home. Learn two ways out of the house. These are tried and true measures that everyone can take to reduce the risk of having a fire in their home. This message will be conveyed across America and the world by firefighters, fire-prevention officers, public fire-education officers and, very importantly, chief fire officers.

Chief officers are often busy handling day-to-day operations; does your daily schedule include time for fire-prevention activities?

All too often, I hear fire-prevention and public-education officers say that they just don’t get the support from above. This article is a call to action for chief officers. Do you support your department’s Fire Prevention Week efforts?

Many of you will say that you support the effort by ensuring that company-level support is available for school visits, nighttime meetings at homeowner’s associations, setting up and participating in side-by-side residential sprinkler displays and helping to set up for that all-important open house. If you thought about it and couldn’t think of examples like these, perhaps it’s time to rethink what you can do to support fire-prevention activities.

Your department’s Fire Prevention Week programs are important to the entire department – not just the fire-prevention bureau. I’ve heard the excuse for years. “We just don’t have enough time to help!” As a chief officer, you can influence how the daily schedule is carved out to help with Fire Prevention Week duties. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to make your department shine. Make sure that everyone in your department understands the importance of this week to your department. Consider annual training sessions on the NFPA’s theme.

Something as simple as coffee-break sessions will help inform and engage firefighters. An informed firefighter is far more likely to support the effort than one who is not. It is a great time of year for all of us to look at what we are doing to support fire-prevention efforts. Listen to your fire-prevention and public-education officers and learn what we all can do to promote this annual effort.

The fire service, led by our chief fire officers, can and will continue to make our communities safer from fire than ever before by supporting Fire Prevention Week activities.


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