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the fire service must change its mindset on what its mission should be.  in our country we focus and finance suppression duties as a first priority.  we have the best suppression technology out there, yet the highest fire  death rate. in another words, we are the best at putting them out but pretty bad at preventing them.  this lack of prevention and education is related to  our high fire death rate.  in most countries overseas the fire service budget is focused on education and prevention.  this works.  just study  the death rates of european countries versus the USA'S. you will see that putting more money towards education and prevention than to suppression, will reduce the death rate.  this approach has been proven to work.  but we face a long line of tradition in this country of putting the wet stuff on thre hot stuff.  we need to stop cutting education and prevention funding when faced with tight budgets.  what is the first budget cut made when depart ments face tough and tight budget crisis?  in most departments its prevention and education.  we need to change this but it will be a huge mountian to climb




mark smith

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Your points are all well taken. I ask you now what direction do we go in, who do we plead to and what can we as Firefighters do personally without stepping on toes to generate support for this cause.

I have tried in the past to generate interest in educating the citizens and was simply ignored by most of the entities I approached ( schools, boy scouts, library personnel, all branches of public service, etc. ) so I desire your feed back as to whom or how better to present the argument so someone will listen.

Thank you for your input here as it is valued and appreciated.

i, to have tried all the avenues you have, to change the way in which the fire service views public education. i have found that the major hurdle is tradition. as you are, im sure aware, that the fire serviuce is steeped in tradition. tradition is hard to break and i dont have the answers to break it. If statistics and data proving that education reduces the fire death rate doesnt do the trick then i dont know what will.

mark smith

The FD's don't visit the schools or groups?


VERY LOW budget ideas (most done in Canada)

-Maybe have a day or 2 a month, that the public could visit the fire stations.

-Have a demonstration of a smoke house or a fire pan and let them use an extinuisher to douse it!

Best way to learn is hands on,right? (and cheapest - if you use H2O extinguishers).

-Run a kids (parents too? ) movie night, but show SPARKY's ABC's or other safety videos at thier level.

-Have lots of fun hand outs for the kids to take home a share with the adults and other siblings.

-Have a fun day in the summer that will involve all ages to participate, BUT learn while having fun!

-If tours are happening, maybe have a spare uniform or bunker gear for the public to try on (& take pics).

-Have a fun day with the Police Dept and Paramedic Services involved, have them bring some clever ideas for everyone to enjoy safely. 

Just a few ideas.

Katharine Blohm


  We have a great education/fire prevention.  It is run by a Lt. And Capt. along with a couple civilian employees.

 Firemen who are on lite duty get assigned there. There on the 2nd flr of the Union hall. The department built a mock town. With smoke machines, cameras,phones that call into a dispatch line. It is a great program.

  However, saying that education helps more than fire suppression. Is a bit much. What needs to be considered is the type of area that each of our departments cover. 

  Indianapolis has almost 50 firehouses, we do 200,000 runs per yr. In the areas of the city  called the fire belt. Companies in those areas on average will do 3 to 4 working fires a shift, plus ems,rescue,tac, etc. Engine & squads in these areas will do. about 3500+ runs a yr. 

  These are low income high crime rate areas. People don't bother with smoke detectors there to busy buying cigaretts and watching tv. 

  Most fires in these areas that are occupied are intrapment. Little Timmy can't tell you about stop drob and roll or crawl under the smoke. He can tell you the names of the hookers that live in the house next to the bar. 

  It is not apples to apples. 

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