Calling All Firefighters: Individually You Can Save A Life

For one week I challenge you to make an effort to reach out to the public on a station tour or supermarket visit to share fire safety information.

Property/lives saved – An engine company participated in a school fire prevention program and covered the simple basics; such as, calling 911, EDITH, and the meeting place. All simple topics any individual firefighter should be educated on and be prepared to speak about.

A week later, a parent wrote to the local paper thanking the fire department because the family had a fire in their attic and the child, who was at the firefighters’ presentation, took charge and directed the family on what to do and got her brother out of the house and to the meeting place.

Property/lives saved A local fire department received a grant to purchase home fire extinguishers to address the residential cooking fire problems they were having, along with smoke detectors. As part of the grant program, a dedicated firefighter took on the responsibility and conducted fire extinguisher training and installed the fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in the homes of his residents who had requested them. Once inside the home for the installs, a fire safety discussion was conducted, which covered basic and common fire prevention topics in the very place the leading location of fires occur today – the residential home. Results:

  • An installed fire extinguisher and the resident’s knowledge on how to use it were used to put out a small kitchen fire prior to the fire departments arrival and confined the fire to the stove with no extension. 
  • An installed fire extinguisher and the resident’s knowledge on how to use it were used to extinguish a fire in a small two-family duplex. The fire was in the closet containing the hot water heater and was extinguished prior to the fire department’s arrival. While the closet suffered extensive fire damage, the fire did not spread, thus sparing the rest of the residents as well as the adjoining home of the duplex. 
  • Firefighters were thanked by a resident who admittedly fell asleep while cooking and was then woken by the newly installed smoke detector, which allowed her to remove the smoking frying pan from the stove before ignition.

Fire prevention works! If you wear this badge and you want to save lives and make a difference then you can – right now today! This does not mean elaborate programs with studies and analysis! It means being active, it means being educated, it means getting out of your station and having simple conversations and developing rapport.

You, the individual firefighter, can save a life(s). Use this Fire Prevention Week and commit to educating yourself on your community health/fire/safety problems and start shaking hands and introducing yourself and spreading the word. The absolute fact is that one of those people you meet is a possible future statistic and you can be the difference in preventing that.

It’s up to you, individual firefighter! Will you continue to let the residents who need you and depend on you walk on by or will you stop them and start saying, “Hello!”?

DANIEL BYRNE, a Contributing Editor, is a firefighter/paramedic, with the Burton, SC, Fire District. A 20-year veteran of the emergency services, he holds both an associate and bachelors degree in fire science, is a National Fire Academy Alumni, and a veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm war with the U.S. Marine Corps. Daniel is the recipient of local and state awards for public educations and relations. Daniel is moderator of the Fire Prevention and Life Safety forums on Firehouse. You can reach Daniel by e-mail at