The United States and Canada have among the highest fire death rates per capita in the world. This has been true for at least the last two decades, compared to countries for which have comparable data - and there are many.
As part of an effort to understand why other countries have a better record than the United States, a series of international studies was undertaken by a private research company. These studies examined in detail the fire protection practices in a number of countries. They all seemed to be doing more than the United States in prevention, especially public fire education at the local level.
In an effort to examine the effectiveness of the educational efforts of the Farmington Fire Department, questions on fire safety education were included on a community survey that was conducted in 1992. While the survey results indicate that basic fire safety information has been reaching the community, the response for more public fire safety education was overwhelming.
In order to meet the needs of the community, a department wide approach to address this effort was undertaken. Two department members attended a Public Fire Education class at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy and have been instrumental in introducing new methods of educating the public about fire safety.
Fire suppression personnel have received training from these two firefighters in making effective use of public contacts, such as tours of the fire stations, to deliver the fire safety message. An Adopt-A-Firefighter Program has also been instituted in a number of Farmington's Elementary Schools. Increased Public Service Announcements have been released through local radio stations to help in conveying fire safety facts.
While the Farmington Fire Department's increased efforts in this all important area are just beginning, it is our intent to increase the awareness of human actions that could lead to fires and to develop skills and knowledge to prevent fires.