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Proving the Value of Fire Prevention

How do you prove a negative? That’s really the struggle fire-prevention experts face.

How do you prove that you prevented a fire, that fire prevention and fire safety really work in saving lives and property, that it has a positive impact on the vitality of a community?

The answer to this perplexing problem may lie in the new Vision 20/20 Fire Prevention Advocacy Toolkit.

Assembled by national experts in the fields of fire prevention and safety, the toolkit’s online resources can help you quantify the impact fire prevention has on the health of a community and that fire prevention is indeed a positive economic driver. While measures such as lives saved are the most important metric, in this day of imploding budgets, it’s also important to justify why money should be spent on fire prevention when community administrators have to juggle many other competing priorities.

Resources in this comprehensive toolkit include:

  • Fire Prevention Advocacy Strategies
    • Increase advocacy for fire prevention in your community
    • Advocating for increased fire prevention will benefit your community
  • Your Community Must Invest in Fire Prevention
    • Prevention saves lives
    • Prevention saves dollars
    • Prevention saves businesses and communities
    • National data support
  • Implementing Your Advocacy Program
    • Setting your advocacy program objectives
    • Developing your advocacy program strategies
    • Demonstrate the need for fire safety advocacy
    • Demonstrate the benefit of investing in fire prevention
    • Develop localized fire data
    • Demonstrate the results of fire safety programs
    • Develop relationships with community leaders
    • Develop relationships with policymakers
    • Develop relationships with business leaders
    • Develop relationships with community social leaders
    • Develop relationships with community social leaders
    • Develop relationships with the public
    • Working with local advocates
    • Telling your story
  • Working with the local media
    • Media relations and outreach
    • Successful media relations
    • Communicating via social media
    • Hosting press conferences and other events
    • Media relations resources
  • Evaluation
    • Outcomes provide powerful information
  • Reaching your audiences
    • Using the IFE Vision 20/20 impact movie
    • Making effective presentations

In addition to these resources, Vision 20/20 has produced a series of short impact movies, available online, that you can use in making the case to your city administration about the value of fire prevention. These videos cover the impact and importance of fire prevention on a community’s health and features testimonials from fire service leaders who have made effective use of fire prevention in saving lives and improving their communities.

Along with this effort, Vision 20/20 is working with communities across the nation on pilot Community Risk Reduction (CRR) programs that involve frontline firefighters partnering with community-service organizations. Together, they’re making home fire-safety visits, educating homeowners, installing smoke alarms and making their communities safer through grassroots efforts. There’s more information, including videos, on the CRR effort at the Vision 20/20 website.

Vision 20/20 is a project of the Institution of Fire Engineers-USA Branch and is funded through a grant from FEMA’s Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program.

Ed Comeau is a member of the IAFC Fire & Life Safety Section’s board of directors and is the communications manager for the Vision 20/20 project.

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