A Quick Introduction to the Institution of Fire Engineers Vision 20/20 Guide to Fire Prevention Advocacy

Graphic: “A Quick Introduction to the Institution of Fire Engineers Vision 20/20 Guide to Fire Prevention Advocacy” Narrator: Welcome! 

We’re glad you have an interest in expanding your community’s fire prevention resources.  And we look forward to helping you do just that.

Graphic: Vision 20/20 website

Narrator: In the next few minutes, you’ll learn how easy it is to tap into the free materials and guidance that Vision 20/20 offers online in its toolkit. These have been created specifically to help you gain advocates who can help increase needed resources, and encourage broader participation in your fire prevention efforts.

There are a lot of great tools to help you so let’s take a look. You already know how important prevention efforts are in order to reduce fire losses.  But do other stakeholders in your community appreciate that fact?  Most probably don’t.  

One of the most important, and challenging aspects of community risk reduction is the ability to convey the value of investing in public safety and fire prevention to a broad audience. 

It’s understandable that those beyond the fire and life safety field don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the direct and indirect consequences of fire – injuries, lives lost, property damage, the cost for suppression and recovery.  

While those are top of mind for you, others in your community don’t recognize the overall impact, nor do they always see the comprehensive benefits of fire prevention activities. It may not seem like it, but part of your job is to help them understand and to gain their support for mitigation.

We developed some of the tools in our kit to help you tackle this lack of understanding.  And we did that with the knowledge that there are a few key audiences that you absolutely must reach and engage in order to be fully successful.  You may know of a few people already and that’s great.  But you also may discover some folks in your community that you hadn’t realized can help you in your prevention efforts.  

While there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from the toolkit, first and foremost, the Vision 20/20 resources will help you develop a shared understanding of your local fire problem and help you grow the support you need to address it and other pressing life safety issues.  

We’ve broken it down into three essential steps: Demonstrate the need, demonstrate the results, and develop relationships.  The toolkit provides information and advice that can help you accomplish each of these.     

Nothing speaks louder than success, so we’ve included relevant examples that illustrate how others in the fire service have established effective partnerships and advocated for strong, local fire prevention outreach.  

We can also learn valuable lessons from the consequences of not making prevention a local priority. To make it important to those in your community, you need to start with a good plan. That will help you gain the support you need.  

Our toolkit will help you think about and design a plan that fits the needs of your community.  

The first hurdle is to demonstrate need for prevention efforts in support of public safety.

How can you convince those who control budgets and resources that fire is a problem in your community?  Start with data.  Numbers tell a critical part of the story.  

Graphic: Demonstrate Results section of website

Narrator: This section of the toolkit helps you understand this and pull together meaningful numbers that measure the risk and the consequences of fire. You’ll find a wealth of data resources here.  

Equally important are the positive results of sound prevention measures.  These aren’t as easy to demonstrate as the consequences of fire are, but it can be done.  We show you some useful methods to do this.

Outcomes provide powerful information, so the toolkit includes basic but valuable advice for documenting performance. This provides you with the evidence you need to convince others how important prevention is to your community.

Developing relationships is key to every aspect of your work. You know that. But it is too often overlooked in safety outreach, so it bears repeating. The toolkit helps you see how effective partnerships can be in expanding your reach and impact on vulnerable populations and in acquiring funding and other resources that help you achieve your public safety goals.

Virtually every fire department today is juggling hazards that go beyond fire. The good news is that the toolkit is flexible. It offers ideas and resources you can apply to all aspects of your public safety outreach. Graphic: Website navigation

Narrator: There is no set way to utilize the toolkit. You can jump around to different sections depending on your department’s current needs. But if you have the time, there is value in going through the entire toolkit, in order. That way you will see how some aspects of a fire prevention effort hinge upon others. And you’ll get some ideas for building on the resources you develop as a method to expand your outreach and impact. Let us know how these advocacy tools were useful to your fire prevention and other life safety efforts. A link to their website is on the contact page.

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