IMPLEMENTING YOUR ADVOCACY PROGRAM
Develop Relationships with Community Social Leaders
Clergy, Social Service Providers and Educators: These leaders deal most directly with the victims and aftermath of fires. They are your most natural advocates and important partners. They can help you with localized fire data as well as provide you with unique and dramatic testimony about the long-term effects on people and community when fire strikes. Together you can present a truer picture of the total impact of fire on the entire community.
The agencies and organizations run by these leaders are good potential partners for your program. Groups like Head Start, homeless shelters, the American Red Cross, aging councils and others have a vital stake in fire safety. As an established part of the community, they can become excellent sources of advocates and resources.
Here are some tactics you might consider for reaching social service leaders and recruiting them and their organizations as fire safety advocates:
- Work Together: Meet to brainstorm how you can unite to increase awareness of the social impact of fire on the community.
- Determine Best Methods of Outreach: Identify and share contacts in your community and work together to get your messages out.
- Join Forces: Co-host an open house to educate the public about the importance of local fire prevention and to demonstrate the strong bond you have with these local leaders.
- Email Updates: As with the other community groups, keep this sector well updated with news and information about local fire losses and activities, and share the impact video.
- Cooperative Fire Prevention Programs: Approach social service leaders to co-develop fire prevention programs, especially to reach high-risk members of the community. Many of these leaders and groups are experienced in writing grants to support important social programs.
- Recognition Program: Create special recognition for social service leaders who become fire safety advocates. This can be anything from certificates of recognition to formal award ceremonies.