Marketing ICS: A Fire Prevention Marketing Success Story

The "Where's the Fire?" exhibit, at Walt Disney's Epcot has millions of visitors each year.

How It Works and Why Its Effective
The actual attraction is an excellent example of mission, vision and flawless execution. Once Liberty Mutual committed to become the sponsor of the experience, Disney Imagineers formed teams to learn and interpret public fire education for the millions of guests who would visit the attraction they named, ""Where's the Fire?"" The Disney Imagineers visited the Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD, to meet with USFA public fire educators. They visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Rockville, MD, to learn about the chemical components of fire and how fires spread in homes. They visited the Fire Zone in New York City, the Safety Village in Westminster, MD, and, of course, spent hours with Reedy Creek Fire and Rescue.

Disney executives decided to create the experience at Epcot because this particular theme park is dedicated to discovery and hope for the future. It is like a world's fair in which guests can learn about things that improve their lives. Disney chose an area of Epcot in called Innoventions, because this particular experience was going to be innovative, something that had never been done before. The team of Imagineers decided to create a home--"the most hazardous home in America"--that would have over 300 fire hazards with patented technology for guests to compete in a family game. The house is divided into rooms that are duplicated on each side.

When guests enter the home, a Disney cast member at a lectern in front of a map with small flames across the country greets them with a short discussion of the fire problem in the United States. Families are then given large flashlight with a special laser technology to find the hazards in the walls of the house. Guests work in teams just as firefighters and must confirm their findings with their partner. Families compete for points within a specified time to find all of the hazards.

After completing the game guests go to a small "Play it Safe House" with a toddler where Disney cast members teach them how to escape if a fire occurs, not to hide in a closet or under a bed and to have a meeting place. Disney Imagineers designed light sequences to replicate a fire spreading along the floor to achieve this goal.

The meeting place is the back of a state-of-the-art Darley pumper specially designed and constructed for the Disney experience. The pumper is in operating order; outfitted with every conceivable piece of equipment, hose beds, attack lines, turnouts and pump panels for the kids to operate. One side of the pumper is called the Wall of Honor. This panel holds over 100 patches from departments around the country with information about their department for a data file.

"Burning Questions" Trivia
Finally, there are three kiosks with "Burning Questions" about fire prevention. The kiosk shows the well-known NIST picture of a Christmas tree in a single room from the incipient stage of a fire to flashover. The guests have 45 seconds to complete the questions before the room goes to flashover. Guests are then given the option to take pamphlets, which review all of the fire safety instructions they have learned during the experience.

A Fire Safety Experience With "Legs" Across The Nation
Liberty Mutual safety professionals is collaboration with USFA public fire educators created safety kits and presentation packages as a way of taking the ""Where's the Fire?"" experience on the road. Liberty mutual has over 4,000 representatives in the country. Each of Liberty Mutual's sales divisions has access to these kits to use as a team with local fire departments and public fire educators around the country.

Involve Your Department
If you would like for your department's patch to be placed on the Darley Wall of Honor and in our virtual database, please visit and submit your fire department badges for display on the website, as well as at "Where's the Fire?"

The story of how the "Where's the Fire?" experience was created may be a unique example of alliance creation, but the process of alliance development between private enterprise and the fire service is in its infancy. Vision, passion, persistence and a clear understanding of mutual benefit can make alliance development one of the most effective initiatives for marketing the fire service-all while protecting the citizens, businesses and institutions it protects.

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