Fire safety education and the media – a crucial combination

Those in the role of educating children and the public on safety precautions can easily demand media attention.

In my career as a storyteller, and as an owner of a socially conscious public relations firm, it is my mission to ensure all important societal issues get noticed and shared.

First responders are often public safety educators; the general public looks up to them day in and out, and as a society, we want to know your story and how it positively impacts community. Being remembered for your story is a very important goal to achieve, particularly for anyone with education that benefits the media, and fellow members of our community. 

Since I was a child in school I’ve personally gained an immense respect for first responders who came to visit our classrooms. Whether it be fire, ambulance, or police officers, or any community safety educators, I believe that our interactions are ones we don’t easily forget.

With no shortage of safety related incidents, wildfires, and preventable home fires reported in the news today, I know that life safety education is becoming increasingly important. But the regular citizen only knows what we know until we are taught differently! Sure, first responders still visit schools to educate children, and hopefully the daily drill gets passed along to parents when kids come home from school.

When a firefighter came to my 2nd grade class to talk about fire safety, I remember asking what to do if there was a fire in my home, because I didn’t have a window to escape through. “Get more smoke alarms” was the message I recall. I am not sure whether children today pass the answers to the questions they ask along to their parents.

Good communications are critical where public safety is concerned.

All parents and caregivers, renters, home owners, or anyone with a roof over their head should know what to do in an emergency. But what if we forget the drill we got taught at school!? And isn’t there more for adults to know than what we were taught in 2nd grade?

Here’s a question that stands out in my mind when I see the constant stream of tragedies around us. What are most of us adults, young and old, including those without children, being taught about safety measures? From where are we gathering this information that we should be constantly reminded of and trained for?

We read about endless tragedies in the news. For most of us I am sure it makes us think of how we can best prepare ourselves and families in the unfortunate event of a carbon monoxide leak, house fire, or any other disaster like a wildfire.

Safety educators MUST hit those life saving messages home. One of the most crucial and underestimated ways for getting life saving information to the public is through our friends in the media: Newspapers, TV, radio, and online outlets.

Public and private partnerships, including business owners, service clubs, and all community stakeholders, should team up for safety’s sake! So for the first responders, tasked with promoting awareness and life safety education initiatives, what are you doing to ensure your important message is constantly in front of the public?

Exactly how would a fire or police officer know how to go about sharing their education with the media and leverage that partnership to drive life saving messages home? Keep reading.

First responders have a responsibility, even more than the average adult or business owner, to share their knowledge and expertise with the general public. After all, the most dramatic or impactful stories in the news often involve life or death situations! Give us some more, what can we do to make sure that bad news does not happen to us?!

People tend think that appearing in the news requires a special skill or the right connections, but anyone can learn how to be a media expert.

In the spring of 2017, I was very lucky to meet fellow social entrepreneur Tracy Last, Chief Inspiration Officer at FireED. We crossed paths at the B Corp Leadership Development Conference for social entrepreneurs. She approached me and we did some brainstorming and created a spin off to our “Be Your Own Public Relations (PR) Star in 90 Days” online course.

It was without hesitation for me to team up with Tracy in an endeavor to help our first responders, and FireED Community Safety Facilitators, with the opportunity to enroll in our “Be A Fire Safety PR Star” online course.

It’s one thing for educators to teach life safety, but another to know how to use the media to share this precious knowledge.

Hearing about Tracy’s impact business for eliminating preventable fires through innovative educational approaches really stood out for me. Tracy realizes that public relations is critical component for any successful community outreach program. We discussed the licensing of my course specifically for the fire and life safety and education professionals with whom she does business.

Safety stories can save lives if you know where and how to tell them. In the Be a Fire Safety PR Star online course you’ll learn about how to:

  • Contact the media and find the ideal time to tell them your story
  • Build a media list and nurture relationships
  • Create a plan and budget
  • Communicate and follow up with media
  • Leverage your media coverage
  • Measure your success
  • And most importantly, how to do it all in a way that’s authentic to you, not how other PR firms might tell you to.

Thank you for allowing me to share my knowledge with you, and I wish you the best in your journey as a Fire Safety Public Relations Star! ~ Sandra

Related Articles