If you have events that are department sponsored, and all of your resources are tied up in making sure that the event is a success, you still have options. You can set up static displays along heavily travelled routes to get event participants talking. If there are places where people have to stand in line to get pancakes, ride on trucks, or watch a demonstration, set up displays on their path. Talk about a captive audience! Some advertisers would die to have a captive audience standing in front of their product for seconds or minutes. Capitalize on your opportunity with:
- Extinguisher and smoke alarm cutaways: Human nature makes people want to know how things work. Set up a display with diagrams, pictures or actual extinguishers and alarms. Label the elements of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in words that are easy to understand. Explain the various types of smoke alarms and where they should be located throughout the house. Post the answers to commonly asked questions about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers — When do they need to be replaced? How do you dispose of old ones? How often do you need to test alarms? Which type of extinguisher works best for what?
- Posters with your NFIRS data: Provide information on your community’s most common types of fire calls and ways to avoid those situations. If you don’t have your own data, you can use the statewide or national data. Make flyers available with tips on how to avoid these calls.
Take full advantage of any opportunity you have to get in front of your community. Don’t use budget and resource limitations as an excuse. All you need is a little ingenuity and some set-up time and you’ll be effectively preventing fires and educating your community without needing extra resources or spending large amounts of money.
BECKI WHITE is a deputy state fire marshal and fire safety educator with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division. You can reach Becki by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.