Building a Solid Structure Requires a Solid Foundation

True public education is something that requires an understanding of the difference between awareness, information, and education.

The safe escape house is another excellent example of this, if, you invest those moments together by asking questions and delivering the appropriate fire safety message. This is your chance to drive that nail in, or help the customer understand that we all have a fire safety problem, but it's repairable with a little of our expertise.

But I'm No Carpenter...
There are many jobs we can do if a hammer just isn't our tool. Some are good at talking to the public, some are good at researching, some are good at set-up and tear-down of the display, while others may have the contacts to offer discounted smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

The point is, when is the last time a person built a house by themselves, or better yet, without a variety of tools? To make the most of an opportunity, we first must develop our plan using all available resources. It's the only way we can come out "on the level"!

Don't forget that there are many good "trades people" in the fire service willing to "snap a line" for you. Also the state fire associations want to help your educational projects become the lasting structures they should be. Please look for information on the internet, through your state associations, national organizations and your state fire marshal's office. They know where all the trade schools are taking place and when. Give me a call if you would like (651-315-3448), I may not be a "master carpenter", but I have a knack for finding the right tools for the job, and I'd be happy to help you break ground and get your project underway!

DANIEL BERNARDY is chief instructor/owner of RESCUEPAX, a company that offers custom all terrain technical rescue training programs and serves as the training officer for the Inver Grove Heights, MN, Fire Department. A 21 year veteran of both the career and volunteer fire service, Daniel is the former Minnesota Deputy State Fire Marshal responsible for public fire and life safety education and juvenile firesetter intervention. He was honored as the Minnesota Firefighter of the Year in 1996, and is a recipient of the Congressional Fire Service Institute Award. Daniel has presented a webcast titled Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Strategies - What is My Role? on Firehouse TrainingLIVE and participated in The Assistance to Firefighters Grant 2008 Program - Part 2: Success Stories podcast on You can reach Daniel by e-mail at