In 2013 the NASFM Board voted to endorse the “Fire Is” program and encourage NASFM members to adopt it in their states. What follows is an introduction letter about “Fire Is” from Lt. Andy Stratton, Coordinator of the New Jersey “Fire Is” program:
The “Fire Is” fire safety and survival program is like no other in the United States. Implementation is truly simple, the program is free, and most importantly, it targets not only a seldom-fire-safety-educated target audience (middle school-aged children) but their parents and caregivers as well.
Imagine, your 12-year-old comes home from school with an assignment to log on to www.njfiresafety.com and view five 15-minute fire safety and survival educational videos over a predetermined time-line (typically 1 per month for five months) with their parents/caregivers.
At the conclusion of the lessons, the parents sign off that they all viewed it and the child receives a grade in Science, Health, History, etc. (all are examples of implementation into the curriculum here in NJ). It is that simple.
No cost to the fire department or the school, no games or handouts, no valuable classroom time taken from the teachers, no need to train the teachers how to teach it, and everyone wins. The parents and the children are educated on the REALITY of what FIRE IS.
Unfortunately, for generations, the fire service has failed their customers in showing them these simple lessons. Fire prevention and survival lessons have seldom gone beyond Sparky the Fire Dog, and Stop, Drop, and Roll. Regrettably, this fact has made the U.S. a world leader in residential fire deaths.
Now, imagine a 2-1/2 story wood frame residence reporting a structure fire at 2 am. A responding engine company that arrives at the home of the uneducated family versus the educated one will be night and day. The company responding to the educated resident will work safer, and most important, our educated customers will be safer. All through simple education.
This program is well under way in NJ as it has been presented to over 400 municipalities. Additionally, the program is now being implemented across New England and most recently, New Hampshire adopted it statewide. Since the implementation of the site began, we have received visits to the Fire Is website from across the U.S., Canada, South America, and Germany.
The website is very user friendly and the videos stream 24/7 in both English and Spanish. There are no copyright restrictions or limitations. There is, however, only one hard-and-fast rule: The program is designed to educate 5th grade aged children and older. This program is intended to supplement the existing pre-K and grade school programs, not replace them.
The “Fire Is” initiative was conceived by Dr. Frank Field, with more than 50 years’ experience as science editor, meteorologist and reporter for the local NBC, CBS and Fox networks in New York City. He became passionate about fire prevention in 1987 when he read the alarming statistics regarding civilian fire death and injury rates in the United States.
The New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association (NJ FMBA) is a labor union that has represented career firefighters in the State of New Jersey for more than 110 years and knows firsthand of the importance of fire safety among children. The NJ FMBA originally brought this program to New Jersey’s communities through a grant from the NJ Office of Homeland Security but has now entered into a partnership with The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas in Livingston, which is a member of Barnabas Health. This partnership capitalizes on the existing relationship between New Jersey’s firefighters and the state’s only certified burn treatment facility. The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas and the Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation have a long history of providing burn and fire prevention education to the residents of New Jersey.
The NJ FMBA, The St. Barnabas Burn Center, and Safe Kids NJ welcome you to join us in this one-of-a-kind education initiative.
For more information about the “Fire Is” program, visit www.njfiresafety.com or contact: Lt. Andy Stratton, NJ FMBA, “Fire Is” Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 908-265-7670.