FIRE PREVENTION ADVOCACY STRATEGIES
Fire – A National Problem With a Local Face
"The devastation to lives and communities that results from fire is all the more tragic because much of it is preventable. Despite sincere commitment to reduce our nation's fire losses, by many organizations, agencies and individuals over many decades, our record of fire loss remains unacceptable. This is directly linked to the fact that our collective willingness to fund fire prevention efforts is simply insufficient. Prevention strategies can and do work. It is our hope that this Guide will provide the assistance you need to take the lead in your community to increase fire prevention efforts through advocacy."
- Alan Perdue, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Fire & Life Safety Section
A community fire prevention strategy should have these main components:
- Emergency Response - a primary way to mitigate damage once fires occur
- Engineering – fire prevention and protection technology
- Enforcement – fire safety mandates and an active, ongoing inspection process
- Education – outreach to increase awareness of fire dangers and how to stay safe
- Economic Incentives – a strategy to create a financial incentive or disincentive to enhance fire safety (e.g. tax deduction for fire sprinklers, fines for fire code violations, etc.)
Together, these can and do help prevent tragic fire injury, death and loss. Aggressive and effective fire prevention efforts have been shown to have a great impact on the safety of communities. The key is creating a demand for local investment in fire prevention.
Developing Advocates is Critical to Your Success
To gain the support and resources to make them truly effective, prevention programs need strong local advocates. This guide concentrates on three effective strategies for developing strong fire prevention advocates in your community*:
- Demonstrating the need
- Demonstrating the results
- Developing relationships
It also provides suggestions for effective, strategic actions that will help you increase collective commitment to prevention investment at the local level along with proven activities and outreach tactics.
*Read more about this approach in Building Blocks of Advocacy by Jim Crawford in FireRescue Magazine.