(Bremerton, WA) -- Working in partnership with the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the International Fire Marshals Association and Cross Cultural Health Care Programs, nonprofit FIRE 20/20 will develop and implement a new online training program for first responders. The program, Partnering for Prevention, will help fire and emergency services departments across the nation increase the reach and effectiveness of fire prevention and community risk-reduction programs with their growing multicultural communities.
"Our country's changing demographics are putting additional strains on fire prevention, community risk reduction and emergency response," said Larry Sagen, FIRE 20/20 Executive Director. "FIRE 20/20's two nationally recognized research surveys [visit www.fire2020.org to learn more] showed that the already-complex nature of first response is further complicated by cultural divides, mistrust, few nonemergency interactions and language barriers. These vulnerabilities lead to increased safety risks for both first responders and the multicultural and high-risk communities they serve."
Partnering for Prevention will be the first-of-its-kind training program enabling first responders to engage multicultural and high-risk communities as proactive fire and injury prevention partners. The training will target our country's 1,350,000 fire marshals, prevention personnel, firefighters and emergency medical responders with content structured in modules to suit multiple learning styles and varied work schedules.
"This innovative training program offers a new model for prevention," said Jim Narva, National Association of State Fire Marshals. "It delivers the message that: 1) Positive proactive relationships are the foundation for understanding public safety needs in diverse communities, and 2) Engaging multicultural and high-risk communities as prevention partners provides critical knowledge and costeffective resources required for fire prevention and life safety programs without increasing fire departments' budgets."
Partnering for Prevention's engaging, interactive training content will be available for FREE, 24 hours a day, eliminating travel expenses and time off-the-job, and offer opportunities for learning from any place with an internet connection.
"Fire 20/20 is spearheading this training program for the fire service to give them the ability to effectively interact, understand, and communicate with people across cultures," said Steve Peavey, Second Vice President, International Fire Marshals Association. "We are pleased to be working with them on this important effort.”
"We hope this is the beginning of a mindset shift in the fire service," said Larry Sagen. "The aim is to make cultural competence and effective outreach an integral part of firefighter training, firefighter safety and patient care."
Partnering for Prevention will be pilot tested in April, 2012, and made available to fire departments for their use shortly thereafter. To receive updates about the progress of the program's development and a launch alert, join the FIRE 20/20 eNewsletter at www.fire2020.org.