“The United States has always been known as a melting pot. Our country continues to become more multicultural each and every year. As we read in Chapter 9, some groups in our communities do not respond to traditional fire safety education outlets. Because of different cultural values, reaching some groups and establishing meaningful relationships can be very challenging. However, many times these groups are the very people who we need to reach and change attitudes and behaviors regarding fire safety.
Using your textbook, the internet and other scholarly journals, research and report on a fire department that was able to reach out to a cultural group in their service area and improve the fire safety education efforts with this population of the community.
Make sure to report demographic information on the service area using the US Census website.
Include the difficulty the fire department was having reaching out to the particular group as well as the strategies they employed to improve relationships and make a positive impact.
Also include how the fire department’s strategies could be replicated by other fire departments.
This week is about the way fire departments reach out to their community about fire prevention. A city that has a large melting pot of diversity is New Orleans. This department has been through a great deal since the days of Katrina and has grown because of it. They currently serve a population of close to 400,000 (Census, 2019) people at last check. They have a big party destination in May for Marti grags. (Census, 2019) One of the highest issues that they were facing after Katrina was getting working smoke detectors into homes in the outer wards. There was distrust within the community when it came to first responders because everyone thought there would just show up and rescue them.
With the distrust in first responders and the growing concern with thin the department about the outer wards and the working smoke detectors. (Orleans, 2019) They set in motion a plan with the help of the assessor’s officer, and the use of the city census from previous years. This plan was the first of its kind in the country. It was based on the population that was not either coming to community meetings, or the hardest hit by Katrina. The assessor’s office was able to comprise a list of homes that were being lived in again after the storm and where they were at. (Orleans, 2019)
The reason behind this program was that the city of NO saw a drastic rise in deaths related to fires. This encompassed Smoke inhalation, burns, and others. The Fire department saw the need and how the community was not coming to them. So, they went and saw them at their homes. This changed the way that the community saw the fire department and other first responders. So, the programs helped to save lives, and showed that they community could put their trust back in to the first responders.
Being that I live in Florida a lot of the communities here have Spanish speaking people that are part of their workplace. This has made it easier for the fire departments and police to have back up with translators to help. In other communities there are a lot of groups that refuse help from the fire department because there are language barriers, few productive relationships, trust issues, and knowledge gaps. Having a language barrier makes it hard for the fire fighters to get all the feedback they need about if there is anyone in the building, if they know how it started, even about injuries. The language gap makes it hard to get all the information needed at the time and there would be a lot of communication barriers. I made sure while training to take Spanish because I knew it would come in handy on calls if needed. By having bilingual employees, it makes them more welcoming and allows them to know that they aren’t just going to be brushed off. They matter too. By having departments that are proactive with the community and always welcoming makes it so more groups will want to get to know their local firefighters. Some won’t come out unless invited so by having outreach groups in the community. The fire departments in the Volusia County Community has made it clear that their doors are always open. And the station always has the door to the station open so people can come in if needed. By holding outreach program’s it allows the community to gain more knowledge on what firefighters do. This allows them to know the different programs they offer and educate the community on everything from fire prevention to fighting fires.
In all communities “Some reasons why members of multicultural communities didn’t call 911: fear of uniforms/authority; fear that police will arrive with the fire department; fear that their language won’t be understood; cultural embarrassment for causing the emergency; fear that sexual identity will result in mistreatment; fear of deportation; and inability to pay for services” (Sagen & Pini 2008) By multicultural communities in some cases aren’t informed and confused about the fire services and if it cost money to use them. In all situations when you call for medical a truck will come too. Some people don’t understand that this doesn’t cost money. The truck will only be charged if the fire was started by the person. Some people don’t realize that.” The multicultural communities consistently agreed they were uninformed and confused about fire services and if there were costs for those services. They also acknowledged lacking basic fire and life safety knowledge.”(Sagen&Pipi,2008)
Sagen, Larry, and Tony Pini. “Diversity in the Fire Service – Why Does It Matter?” Firehouse, 1 May 2008, https://www.firehouse.com/prevention-investigation/article/10494144/diversity-in-the-fire-service-why-does-it-matter.