Kidde Fire Safety has teamed up with Craig Morgan, Country Music star and former first responder, Firehouse, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to launch "Step Up and Stand Out," a national campaign to increase awareness of the need for volunteer firefighters. An integral element is a contest that launches nationwide February 11, to recognize volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their community. Kidde, a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
Most of America's 30,000 fire departments (87 percent) are either fully or partially staffed by volunteers. These men and women act as the first line of defense in an emergency, provide medical services and protect more than 50 percent of Americans, particularly in rural communities; however, their numbers have steadily declined. Volunteers dedicate significant training hours to ensure they are prepared, often at their own expense.
"As a former first responder, I want to continue to do what I can to help keep families safe," said Morgan. "That means making sure our volunteer fire departments have the support they need. This program is a great way to show volunteer firefighters how important they are to us and their communities."
At select stops along Morgan's 2016 tour, he will meet with local volunteer fire departments, and donate Kidde 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms. Also, members of IAFC will hold open houses at various fire departments along the route.
"Firefighters respond to more than 31 million emergency calls each year – three times the number of emergency responses in 1980," said Volunteer Fire Chief Timothy S. Wall, chair of the IAFC's Volunteer and Combination Officers Section. "To protect life and property in our communities is an enormous responsibility, but our fire departments are facing many challenges, especially recruitment and retention of volunteers. Step Up and Stand Out is about raising public awareness that your local fire department needs volunteers of all skill levels and abilities. We need volunteers who are willing to step up whether as a trained firefighter or supporting your local fire department in any number of other ways."
Hosted on Firehouse.com, the contest invites departments and the public to submit a brief video nominating a current volunteer firefighter or support volunteer for their service. Submissions will be accepted until May 21, and voting will begin in June. Five finalists will be announced at IAFC's Fire-Rescue International Show, the IAFC's Annual Conference & Expo on Aug. 18. A final public vote will then determine a grand prize winner who will be announced at Firehouse Expo in October. The finalists and grand prize winners will receive a prize pack consisting of Kidde smoke alarm donations, safety grants, an NFPA Fire Prevention Week Kit, and more. The complete rules are available at www.firehouse.com/vf.
"Kidde works with firefighters around the nation to raise awareness about fire safety and we appreciate their dedication to their communities. Home safety and the safety of an overall community go hand in hand, and that includes having working smoke alarms in homes and having enough volunteers trained and ready to answer the call when needed," said Chris Rovenstine, vice president, sales and marketing, Kidde.
Follow #StepUpStandOut on social media.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more