To effectively spread fire safety awareness, consider the audience you are speaking to. Many times it is difficult to get people to take the messages seriously. If you put together a fire safety program, it is important that your messages resonate with those who need to hear them. Here are some of the most common audiences for fire safety awareness programs, and how you can best reach them.
Schools are some of the best places to begin fire safety education. However, depending on the age of the students you’re speaking to, you may need to adjust your delivery in order to better convey your message.
Coordinating with physical education teachers can be effective in getting these programs in elementary schools. Principals and other teachers are typically busier, so you may end up playing phone tag to the point that the program is dropped or rushed. P.E. teachers are responsible for health and safety education, and fire safety fits right into their curriculum.
After school and intersession programs also offer a great opportunity to talk to children. These programs are often looking for educational programs and role models. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA seek community involvement for funding and always looking for interesting programs.
Middle and High Schools
This can be a challenging audience, as fire trucks and firefighters no longer “wow” this crowd. With some effort and creativity, firefighters can become popular with this age group, and their messages can come across. P.E., health and safety, home economics, or science teachers, along with school resource officers, may help get you in front of an audience. Many high schools and middle schools have special programs that operate outside the normal academics and will give you opportunities to grab attention, but still fulfill the academic curriculum, which is key.
Colleges and Universities
Colleges offer a great opportunity to talk to young adults, with a wide range in courses that are often looking for guest speakers. The more creative and original you are the better. Look at the classes offered and create a need for you as a guest speaker. Colleges and universities also often have a wide variety of student organizations based on every topic imaginable. Look for organizations based on student and campus safety, as they will likely include fire safety as part of their club mission.
Adults can be a difficult audience to reach. Most don’t see a need to participate in a fire safety program since they likely have smoke alarms in their homes and know “stop, drop and roll” already. You must research and be thoroughly familiar with fire statistics and other important details about fire safety and demonstrate the need to have you speak to them.
Many members of organizations must find guest speakers for the next meeting and are thrilled to find you, and many are leaders within their organizations and communities. Parent nights at local schools offer opportunities to talk fire safety and inform the parents of what you have been talking to their children about with the importance of continuing our messages at home. Churches are another great source for an audience due to the many groups within the congregation. Many communities have senior groups looking for guest speakers and unique programs to offer to their members. Participating in one of their social events can go a long way.
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