While working to beat back a fire death rate well above the national average, fire departments across Wisconsin, Michigan and other states also are struggling with limited budgets to support fire prevention education. Now they are asking the community for help.
“Firefighters’ first priority always is to save lives and prevent injury,” said Chief Michael O’Brian, past president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs. “And the best way to protect lives is to prevent fires in the first place. That’s the value of fire prevention education and the value of community investment.”
Fire Prevention Week materials are used in trainings for young children, the elderly and others. But with tight municipal budgets, the supply of these materials is at risk. With the help of an online tool, fire departments are now able to invite others to purchase materials they need.
The online tool, Sparky’s Wish List, works much like a modern bridal registry. Fire departments register for the items they need (like DVDs, posters, stickers, etc.) and others go online to make the purchases. The materials ship directly to the fire departments.
Wisconsin’s state fire death rate was 9.2 deaths per million in 2009, slightly below the national average of 11 deaths per million. There are 18 registries in Wisconsin as of September 4, 2012. Michigan has the 11th highest fire death rate in the nation. In 2009 Michigan had 16.4 deaths per million, as compared to the national average of 11 deaths per million. Children under five are at the greatest risk from home fire death and injury.
Eleven Michigan fire departments from all across the state already have created wish lists, with the cost of individual items starting at $12.50.
“The impact of fire ripples throughout the community,” said O’Brian. “Even a small purchase can help.”
“Fire prevention education saves lives,” said James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the program’s sponsor. “Educational materials are essential for fire departments to spread their message of safety to classrooms and beyond, and this registry enables community members to come to the aid of fire departments asking for help.”
For more information, visit http://www.sparkyswishlist.
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building and life safety. Sparky® and Sparky the Fire Dog® are registered trademarks of NFPA.
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