IMPLEMENTING YOUR ADVOCACY PROGRAM
with the Public
The Public: Your biggest challenge and biggest potential ally is the general public. Firefighters already enjoy high esteem in the community. The public looks to fire departments to protect their lives, their families and their property. By demonstrating the need for investing in fire prevention policy and actions, the public can bring pressure on elected officials to support prevention programs. But they need to know you need their help, they need to know what they can do and they need to know it is important.
The Public: Here are some tactics you might consider for reaching the general public to gain their support for fire prevention programs:
Marketing/Public Relations: Reach out to your community in a variety of ways and with a well-developed strategy. Here are some suggestions:
- Use the brief "impact video" provided by Vision 20/20. See the section on Using the Impact Video in this Guide.
- Develop a regular newsletter to be sent to all segments of the community that you've identified.
- Partner with businesses to place paid media outreach, such as advertisements in publications, on billboards and on transit signage.
Media Relations: A strong media relations plan can help you focus attention on the problem of fire and the value of prevention activities. See the section on Working with the Media in this Guide.
Presentations: Reach the public through live fire demonstrations, presentations, school outreach and participation in other public events (home shows, school sports, business expos, etc.). See the section on Making Effective Presentations in this Guide.
Fire Station Open House: Many departments have annual open houses, often tied to Fire Prevention Month in October. These present the opportunity to get to know residents in your jurisdiction and to help them understand what is involved in fire suppression, enforcement and prevention.