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Maximizing Fire and Life Safety Program Effectiveness in a Challenging Economy Stacie Durham Fire & Life Safety Education Coordinator McKinney Fire Department.

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Presentation on theme: "Maximizing Fire and Life Safety Program Effectiveness in a Challenging Economy Stacie Durham Fire & Life Safety Education Coordinator McKinney Fire Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maximizing Fire and Life Safety Program Effectiveness in a Challenging Economy Stacie Durham Fire & Life Safety Education Coordinator McKinney Fire Department 13th Annual Texas Fire Marshals’ Conference October 17-21, 2011 Austin, Texas Austin, Texas

2 Fire in the U.S.A. – During 2010, U.S. fire departments reported responding to a total of 1,331,500 fires, which resulted in: – 3,129 civilian fire deaths – 17,720 civilian fire injuries – $11.6 billion in property damage. 1 Source: Fire Loss in the United States During 2010 by Michael J. Karter, Jr., NFPA, Quincy, MA

3 During 2010, U.S. fire departments reported responding to 482,000 structure fires, which resulted in: – 2,755 civilian fire deaths – 15,420 civilian fire injuries – $9.7 billion in property damage. 1 Source: Fire Loss in the United States During 2010 by Michael J. Karter, Jr., NFPA, Quincy, MA Fire in the U.S.A. –

4 Fire in the United States Fire in the USA is a much larger problem than acknowledged. The cost to society is staggering, creating a significant national issue. Property damage for 2010 estimated at more than $11 billion. (Wildfires in 2011 will likely increase this number significantly.) The United States has the highest fire death rate in the western world and nearly the highest in the entire world. USA has fire property losses among the largest of industrialized nations.

5 Fire in the United States As a rule, fire causes more direct and indirect loss (human and property) than all other natural disasters combined. Average 200 deaths annually from natural disasters. Average 4,000 deaths annually from fires. Many civilian fire injuries go unreported, so injury numbers are likely exponentially higher than we know.

6 How does Texas measure up? In 2006, Texas had the second highest number of civilian fire deaths in the country – behind only California (292 vs. 298.) In 2010, Texas reported: – 175 civilian fire deaths – 65 % of civilian fire deaths occurred in residential structures – 24% of civilian fire deaths involved the elderly (65+ years of age) – $510 M+ in property damage

7 Reality… The economy is making it more difficult than ever to sustain fire prevention/fire safety education efforts – Commonly viewed by leaders as non-mandated service – Exacerbated by “9-11” effect – Often the first program offered in budget cuts We must cut expenditures while maintaining core services and mission critical programs

8 Barriers to success Budgets today require tough decisions rapidly – Decision makers must understand long- and short-term impact of cuts – Accurate program data is imperative! – MARKET your programs and successes Creating a fire service culture that embraces prevention and education as a core service – Recognizing that preventing the emergency is top priority, rather than focusing the bulk of time and resources after the fact Reinventing the perception of the job of a “firefighter”

9 Reality… Crisis makes opportunity – We’re not the only ones in this situation Other government agencies For profit businesses Non-Profit agencies Civic clubs Churches – We share many common goals – We often compete for the same dollars, i.e., grants, in-kind donations, etc…

10 NOT the answer… Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

11 How do we proceed? Identify and work proactively with community partners to provide highest level of protection and community services – Embrace and expand “partnerships” – Achieve more with less – Work smarter not harder – Collaborate to achieve mutual/complementary goals

12 Getting started… Collaborative efforts begin because individuals/agencies reach out to like minded people/groups to address issues affecting their “customers” – Analyze community emergency response data to identify risks – Prioritize identified risks – Identify target audience – Identify likely partner agencies – Determine if program is mutually beneficial

13 Getting started Recognize and agree on need – Develop vision – Identify goals – Identify definition of success – Identify barriers to success – Share ownership Determine level of commitment for each agency Identify lead agency

14 Now what? Cooperatively determine strategies & tactics to reach audience and mitigate risks Prepare a “program plan” with clearly measurable results Implement the plan Monitor Evaluate Modify

15 Examples from McKinney Remembering When We’re Out to Alarm Texas Beat the Heat McTown Klownz Holiday Outreach Children’s Fire Safety House Fun with the Son Back to School Safety

16 Remembering When TM Partners – Committee on Aging – Meals on Wheels – Senior Center – Housing Services – Home Health Agencies – Seniors Helping Seniors

17 We’re Out to Alarm Texas Partners – Texas Department of Insurance – Seniors Helping Seniors – Committee on Aging – Development Services – Citizens Fire Academy Alumni – Community Lifeline Center (Ministerial Alliance)

18 Beat the Heat Partners – TXU Energy – Community Lifeline Center – McKinney Noon Lions Club – McKinney Professional Firefighters’ Association – McKinney Ladies Association – CFA Alumni Association

19 McTown Klownz Partners – McKinney ISD – McKinney CVB – McKinney Performing Arts Center

20 McKinney Holiday Outreach McKinney ISD Community Lifeline Center 3E McKinney Volunteer McKinney Center McKinney Housing Authority Salvation Army Local churches Citizens

21 Fire Safety House & Community Outreach Citizens Fire Academy Alumni Local Businesses Service Clubs

22 The future… Market your successes!

23 Bottom line Successful collaborations must – Clearly identify lead agency – Have a common understanding of the program – Have a clearly identified purpose (i.e., install 250 smoke alarms in CY 2012) – Have open communication – Have measurable program results – Be mutually beneficial for all organizations

24 The future Have we really considered new or different ways to do business, or are we wrapped up in “doing things the way we always have?” Some of our public safety competitors are innovating more rapidly than we are – do we want to be followers in public safety or leaders? Weathering the Economic Storm Fiscal Challenges in Fire and Emergency Medical Services International Association of Fire Chiefs

25 The future… The USA historically places more emphasis on suppression than on prevention – The U.S. must take a more proactive approach to fire and life safety through Community Risk Reduction (CRR) – CRR must be recognized by the U.S. fire service as a core service, as vital as emergency response – Work proactively with community partners Expansion of non-traditional volunteer roles can assist with program delivery

26 The North American fire service seems to be the lone holdout worldwide in taking a much more aggressive approach to fire and life safety education and prevention... Change will be slow at first; but, it will gain momentum quickly. Given a choice of taking a new, more cost effective approach, or raising taxes to maintain the status quo, local elected officials will opt for change. William Peterson Fire Chief, Retired Plano, Texas The future…

27 Resources: Vision 20/20: Community Risk Reduction Planning Report Fire Loss in the United States During 2010 by Michael J. Kanter, Jr., NFPA, Quincy, MA Global Concepts in Residential Fire Safety Weathering the Economic Storm: Fiscal Challenges in Fire and Emergency Medical Services Fire in the United States Building Collaborative Partnerships

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29 Stacie Durham Fire & Life Safety Education Coordinator McKinney Fire Department


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