Awareness campaign recognized by OFM
Dec. 2, 2010, Toronto - An initiative to educate young people about the dangers of fire was recognized in November by the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal.
The knowfire.ca campaign – a partnership among the Niagara Fire Chiefs Association, Niagara College and Brock University – has been awarded the Bernard A. Moyle Award from the fire marshal's public fire safety council.
The campaign features a website that hosts locally produced public service videos, and is aimed at teaching young people (particularly university aged students away from home for the first time) about fire safety.
Young adults between 18 and 24 are the most difficult age group to reach for injury prevention programs, says Bradley Clarke, Brock University’s manager of student/community outreach. And fire safety education is no exception.
“The Ontario fire marshal’s office has thoroughly researched and developed fire safety education programs for elementary aged children and seniors,” Clarke says, “However, there were none specifically for the 18- to 24-year-old group.”
Launched in September 2009, www.knowfire.ca features YouTube-like videos showing students caught in fire situations, and what can happen when smoke detectors are disconnected, exit doorways are blocked and pizza boxes are stuffed into unattended hot ovens. Shot by Brock University broadcasting students and featuring local students and firefighters as actors, the knowire.ca videos are informative, high quality and riveting.
St. Catharines’ former fire prevention inspector Donna Gill (now divisional chief of communications) was the driving force behind the creation of Knowfire.ca. For Gill, Knowfire.ca is an effective answer to the problem of reaching 18- to 24-year-olds. “Although we originally tailored this to serve our own city, the Knowfire.ca concept can work in any locality and in any language,” she says. “It is a model that really reaches the 18-to-24 age group and resolves the longstanding gap in making them fire safe.”