Fairview Fire District Honored with 2019 James W. Wright Public Education Award
NYSAFC presented the award recognizing excellence in fire/life safety and fire/injury prevention education on May 4, 2019, during the 46th Annual Fire & Life Safety Educators' Conference.
The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC) is pleased to announce that the Fairview Fire District (Dutchess County) has been named the 2019 recipient of the James W. Wright Public Education Award. NYSAFC has presented this prestigious award since 1995 in recognition of outstanding effort in delivering fire and life safety public education programs to citizens in New York state.
The award was presented to members of the Fairview Fire District's Public Education Team on May 4, 2019, during the 46th Annual Fire & Life Safety Educators' Conference hosted by NYSAFC and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention & Control at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls, N.Y.
The Fairview Fire District formally established the special position of fire prevention coordinator in 1989. Since that time the district's Public Education Team has grown and evolved to better meet the needs of the community it serves. Currently, the team consists of one lieutenant and two firefighter/EMTs who are nationally certified fire and life safety educators, as well as the district chief. Reflective of the expansion of outreach provided, the department changed the program title from “fire prevention” to “public education” to more accurately reflect the valuable and comprehensive services provided to the community that go beyond educating solely on fire prevention.
In addition to open house events, school visits, and an increased presence on social media to reach all segments of the population, the Public Education Team provides CPR and Stop the Bleed training to the public, checks and installs child car safety seats, and installs smoke alarms in residents' homes, Notably, since 2002, Fairview's child passenger safety technicians have checked/installed approximately 4,500 car seats and, since 2012, firefighters have installed approximately 500 smoke alarms in homes of residents.
Additionally, through community partnerships with local institutions, the district has collaboratively developed targeted education programs to not only increase safety, but also decrease the frequency of unnecessary alarms.
One of the most impressive components of the Fairview Fire District's public education program focuses on the safety of local college students living in on-campus dormitories and in off-campus housing. In 2012, a fire in the district claimed three lives, including two college students. This tragedy reaffirmed the need and importance of the department's public education program and led to increased funding, additional staffing, and an expanded scope of focus, moving toward a community risk reduction model. Team members worked with local colleges to design and target programs for the at-risk audience of college students. After identifying that cooking was the leading cause of fire alarm activations on campus, a Dormitory Cooking Safety Program was created. Team members also participate in a RA/RD Academy safety program to educate residential advisors and take part in campus safety month events.
NYSAFC President Julius Leone said, “I commend the members of the Fairview Fire District for their dedication to fire and injury prevention and life safety. Fire departments across the state can learn from their proactive approach and efforts to focus the department's public education program based on the unique needs of the diverse population they serve.”
Through education, the Fairview Fire District is committed to public safety and reducing risks to those living in and traveling through the community it serves.