What did you do?
Firehouse.Com is visited by thousands of motivated firefighters throughout the fire service who want to make a difference in their communities. We came into this profession to save lives and property, and in this profession the best way to achieve that is through prevention. No matter how quickly we respond, no matter how quickly we rescue and suppress – injury and damage is done. Have we really accomplished what we set out to do?
Prevention is key! Especially in this day & age where citizens value prevention – they call it risk management. If the fire service is to thrive and survive in the future, we must show our value not only when the alarm hits, but what we do for our communities every day. But NO one in today’s fire service has the time or resources to re-invent the wheel.
So let’s share some ideas. Tell us what you did this year for fire prevention, what worked, what didn’t lessons learned and suggestions, and what are you planning for the New Year….
Smoke detector block walk to check and install smoke detectors
I do fire inspections of all apartments in my jurisdiction every 2 years. This was the third time (in six years) that I figured out that of approx. 1000 apartment units, 775 are inhabited by indians (dot, not feather.) And I have learned that they just plain do not give a schit about smoke detectors.
You can talk to their school-age kids (who speak fluent english) all you want and tell them to tell mom and dad that it is in their best interests to keep batteries in the SD.
You can tell the ones who speak english that it is in their best interests to keep batteries in the SD.
You can get the ones who speak english to translate to the ones who don't to keep batteries in the SD.
The management of the apartment complex can threaten to fine them. Throw them out. Whatever.
The noisy white thing on the wall goes off every time they cook with oil (just about every night) and is annoying. So they disconnect it. Or when the low battery chirp starts, they disconnect it.
They just don't care. And I have given up.
Thanks for sharing!
How did you receive funding to do this? How did you choose the block to visit? Did your department install them? Do you track the homes you install detectors in and cross it with emergency responses? FEMA grants give preference for smoke detector funding when a home inspection is included, did you do that as well? Were the residents receptive? Did you advertise before hand?
Originally Posted by fire49
Can never quit!
Well this you just cannot do! Very easy to get discouraged in fire prevention, because we NEVER know when something we did made a difference. Has this complex had a fire fatality? You have to trust that out of the 100 people you talk with, a few will pay attention, and out of that few a life may be saved. So what do you think....worth it?
Originally Posted by FWDbuff
Now what type of inspections do you do, just smoke detectors or a full fire safety inspection? Are you and inspector? How do you get entry into these apartments? Can they refuse?
Not sure what the dynamics are here so please don't misunderstand, but maybe some education may help. Sounds like the apartment manager is on board with you, see if you can do an educational program with a live demonstration of some kind to show the importance of some detectors.
How about a general PR event, a "get to know" type of program. As a fire service we represent the government and many people do not think we "understand" their situation...especially in this situation where you are dealing with another culture. Doing such an event brings us closer to the citizens we serve and we become their neighbors and friends...not the obscure firefighter who is telling them what to do. Aren't you more likely to take advise from a friend? Also allows you to learn about their culture and maybe uncover some obstacles to the issue and/or give you a new idea for an approach.
Either way you can't quit....we are firefighters...it's not in our DNA!
City paid for them and had hundreds of donated batteries
Working on grants
We identified our older neighborhoods and hit them first along with if we had a house fire, we would do the neighborhood around the fire
Fire dept and citizens fire academy installed them
Kept track of all housed contacted whether home or not, detectors or batteries installed
Just cold called and left flyer if not home
Tell us more about your citizen academy? Sounds like your department thinks outside the box and uses resources!
You can't teach something to someone who just does not care.
Originally Posted by Education1st
Sorry to hear it
Well I appreciate your frustrations fully and am very sorry you have written off this particular group. As I stated, and I encourage everyone in prevention to think about, if you talk to 100 people and 99 walk away shaking their head, but one leaves remembering and applying what you said, then who knows where that information will go and who and how many it may impact.
Just focus on one life at a time brothers and sisters. If I serve in this profession for 30 years and only save one life, then it was all worth it. Again in prevention is thankless and frustrating, but we cannot just throw our hands up and write anyone off. We have to get creative and persistent and trust that it will make a difference for someone – somewhere.
We must never accept defeat. Would you ever stop a search for someone because you feel their stupidity caused the fire so they deserve what they get? Obviously not.
Keep in mind the lives we save are not just those we serve, but also those who serve them. With every fire we prevent, or every life saved because a smoke detector activated and they got out, we are also saving our brothers and sisters who do not have to face the risk of a fire fight or a S&R. If you ever come to believe a particular group is not worth your effort, look at those in your department – aren’t they worth it?
fireeducator, how did you delete those two posts? I had no idea you could do that.
It's a christmas miracle!
Originally Posted by Firehouse_Chick
Back on topic... as Chief I created a form that was used for any call to a residence.
It was a simple smoke detector checklist. We lifted recommendations from NFPA and our local code and would perform a quick down and dirty inspection. We asked for permission and it was not enforceable as we are not tasked with enforcement and these were mostly single family dwellings.
The idea was to raise awareness. We included copies of the relevant recommendations.
Any type of response, I asked our crews to do it... pump outs, false alarms, smells, bells... whatever.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Report
Owner’s Name: _______________________
Address: _____________________________ Phone: ___________________
In the course of our investigation at the location listed above, we noted the following dangerous conditions related to your smoke alarms:
___ No smoke alarms are present
___ The number of smoke alarms is inadequate
___ The smoke alarm(s) present are inoperable or need to be
Replaced (see comments below for more detail)
In addition, we noted the following dangerous conditions related to your carbon monoxide alarms:
___ No carbon monoxide alarms are present
___ The number of carbon monoxide alarms is inadequate
___ The carbon monoxide alarm(s) are inoperable or need to be
Replaced (see comments below for more detail)
Comments: __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________
I have received and understand the above information and agree to comply with the recommendations listed above.
Owner or Resident
We would also hand out this flyer (an older version at the time).