New York, NY - More than 100 4th and 5th grade students in Manhattan joined New York City Firefighters to kick off a national fire safety educational campaign that seeks to change the way children and families throughout America think and learn about fire education and prevention. Through a new documentary, filmmakers and firefighters are seeking to move away from teachings that focus on techniques like stop, drop and roll and that popularize Dalmatians.
In the effort, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of Greater New York representing more than 24,000 active and retired New York City Firefighters has teamed up with retired Emmy Award winning science journalist Dr. Frank Field to promote an educational DVD designed to teach parents and children the truth about fires, entitled FIRE IS...
In March, 36,000 copies of the educational DVD will be distributed to professional and volunteer fire departments across the United States. The UFA has underwritten and is taking the lead in distributing 2,000 copies throughout New York City, which includes more than 250 FDNY fire houses. The union is asking its firefighters to visit local schools and communities to show the documentary and address fire safety questions.
An additional 2,000 copies will be distributed in the State of New Jersey through the office of the State Fire Marshal in Trenton and Keane University, with more than 30,000 copies being distributed in cooperation with fire industry trade publications Firehouse Magazine and Firehouse.com.
Steve Cassidy, president of the UFA said, "New York City Firefighters risk our lives every day for the safety of others and the lessons that can be learned from this DVD can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injury and death to civilians and firefighters alike. The saddest thing for a firefighter is to have to carry a lifeless child out of a fire and know their death might have been prevented."
He continued, "Current methods of teaching fire education to children and families are inadequate and too embedded in a Hollywood portrayal. We must move away from that. This educational DVD is far and away the best fire safety education tool available today."
Production of the DVD was made possible by a grant from the MetLife Foundation. The documentary is comprised of five 20 minute teaching modules entitled: Fire Is Black, Fire is Hot, Fire is Fast, Fire is Smoke & Gas and Fire is Emergency. FIRE IS..., employs a straight-talking realistic approach to teaching fire safety. It is a serious educational tool for parents, teachers and fire administrators that uses footage contributed from 30 television stations across the U.S. of actual fires, real firefighters and victims, without the use of actors.
James L. Hayes, Principal of Manhattan"s Epiphany School, with an enrollment of 500 students said, "Our priority as educators is to teach our children life-lessons that will carry them forward and make them better people. With this effort, we also have an opportunity to teach the students how to take the lead and actually talk to their parents and siblings about creating an emergency plan in case of a fire in their home." The DVD is also being distributed to 50 schools located in Manhattan operated by the New York Archdiocese.
In the late 1980's as Science Editor at a New York City TV network affiliate, Dr. Field began investigating disturbing trends in fire safety records in major U.S. cities. He found that as it relates to fire, it was safer to live in a foreign city like Tokyo, than in a major U.S. metropolitan city. That conclusion led Dr. Field to produce an Emmy award winning news series on fire safety. In addition, since the 1970