One of the best parts of my position at NFPA is working with fire department fire safety educators. Most of them have dual responsibilities in their departments, serving as firefighters, inspectors, or public information officers, along with their duties as fire safety educators. Many go beyond their assigned duties, working extra hours and weekends so they can ensure that an open house, a smoke alarm installation program, or children in a burn unit get their attention.
This year, NFPA launched the “Sparky’s Wish List” campaign, an online registry that brings together fire departments and community member to support life-saving fire safety education programs by giving fire departments the NFPA public education materials they need to reach the people in their communities. The fire departments list their needs, and local businesses and citizens can sign up to buy the materials the departments have chosen.
In the early weeks of the campaign, I knew I wanted to support some fire departments. I know the struggles that fire departments have to go through to get money for their public education programs, and I wanted to step up to the plate. I reviewed the list of fire departments that had registered, and I chose three for different reasons. I picked the West Bend, Wisconsin, Fire department because West Bend was the home of my younger brother who passed away, and I wanted to do something in his memory. When I did, I found out that many West Bend firefighters had been patients of my brother, who was a chiropractor. I chose the Durant, Mississippi, Fire Department because I worked with an NFPA smoke alarm installation program in Holmes County, where Durant is located, and I am aware that high-risk groups there are in great need of educational materials. And I chose the Posen, Illinois, Fire Department because the community of Posen had participated in an educational slide show I helped develop when I worked at the National Safety Council in Chicago.
You may have a variety of reasons, both objective and emotional, to help provide materials for a fire department or community, but please chose one or two to support. You will provide a boost for the fire safety education staff and enable them to reach children and adults with life-saving information. Go to this link today to show your support.