Specific Strategies Identified at Vision 20/20

April 2, 2008
Five specific strategies for reducing fires in America have been identified following two days of discussion.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Five specific strategies for reducing fires in America have been identified following two days of discussion here.

Those involved in the Vision 20/20 project -- including many of the Who's Who in the nation's fire service -- also developed action plans for each of the strategies.

Regardless of the issue, the folks involved in the project said the only way to reduce the number of fires in the United States is to get firefighters to understand the importance of fire prevention.

Until that happens, nothing will change.

Fire chiefs participating in the committees said they aren't seeing folks standing in line to join the ranks to teach life safety education.

Vision 20/20 Project Manager Jim Crawford said he was pleased with the outcome.

"Everyone wants to see something happen. They don't just want another report sitting on the shelf," Crawford said.

While the opening session was peppered with emotional comments, Crawford said participants really got down to work and more focused once they were in their specific breakout groups.

"I'll admit. It was rough in the beginning. I was a bit nervous. But, anyone who's been involved in this type of process knows, it can be messy at first."

The steering committee took its first comprehensive look at the suggestions Tuesday night. They will be scrutinizing the work, and prioritizing the action items.

The group is using the model followed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation when it developed the 16 Life Safety Initiatives following a summit in Florida.

"We're impressed. People want to help. They want to be involved to help identify the doable actions."

Crawford said a common theme emerged from the 170 participants, many of whom had very passionate opinions. "They want to see action. They want to show that taxpayers' money was not wasted."

The specific strategies identified include

  • Advocacy -- Get on the agenda to make America safe from fire.
  • Education and Marketing -- Establish a consistent, sustained multi-faceted education/social marketing campaign to reduce risks and losses from fire by getting people to change their behavior toward fire safety.
  • Culture -- Shift the organizational culture within the fire service so that prevention is accepted and supported as a primary service for public safety.
  • Technology -- Promote and leverage existing and new technology to enhance fire and life safety.
  • Standards -- Development and application of codes and standards to enhance public and firefighter safety and preserve community assets.

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