Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

Benefits to Fire and EMS Departments from Citizen Assistance

Washington, D.C. – In a continuing effort to encourage and assist the Nation’s fire services to support, implement, and expand the America’s Citizen Corps initiatives, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) presents to the fire service a set of recommendations. These recommendations were developed by first responders that included USFA’s national organizational partners, students at the USFA’s National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD and members of local fire departments in different parts of the country. To help better prepare fire leaders for offers of help from Americans, Administrator Paulison asked the USFA staff to become catalysts for increasing the awareness of these opportunities by the Nation’s fire and emergency services.

“As emergency response challenges and threats to homeland security change in this Nation, more Americans are seeking to become increasingly involved in public safety at home.” R. David Paulison, USFA Administrator said. “When citizens come forward to offer their time and efforts, it is important they experience a fire service committed to the Citizen Corps initiative. With each contribution made by citizens of the community, this Nation, and its firefighters, will be that much safer.”

Suggestions and recommendations gathered from America’s firefighters:

  • Assist with public relations
  • Assist with maintaining emergency vehicles
  • Enter statistical data, assist with analysis of fire incident reporting
  • Assist with analysis of emergency medical services demands
  • Assist with youth programs and youth mentoring services
  • Develop computer programs, design/improve Web sites
  • Assist with typing reports, answering telephone calls, records management, and other office tasks
  • Develop informational newsletters for the community, perhaps including special holiday or seasonally oriented fire injury prevention messages
  • Conduct research through departmental and other fire and rescue informational sources
  • Assist with fundraising initiatives
  • Compile fire/rescue data about specific fire safety challenges/successes
  • Assist with fire prevention education programs
  • Assist with injury prevention awareness programs, and safety fairs
  • Distribute information on fire, rescue, and emergency medical services
  • Assist with foreign language translation of safety literature
  • Offer to serve in a department’s auxiliary
  • Assist with canteen services at major incidents
  • Assist with special events such as Fire Prevention Week, annual fire and life safety Open Houses
  • Conduct follow-up customer surveys on services provided
  • Offer to develop or enhance existing advertising campaigns, marketing of new/upgraded services
  • Assist to reach the hard-to-reach at risk audiences to improve fire and life safety
  • Assist with public fire safety campaign development, implementation, and evaluation
  • Assist with development of historical archives, antique equipment restoration, museum services
  • Help to improve understanding of specialized fire / EMS organizational services like hazardous materials response, urban search and rescue (USAR), youth services, water / mountain rescue, billing services, etc.
  • Organize community appreciation events
  • Assist with development and maintenance of fire department libraries via labeling, cataloging, inventory, text repairing, etc.
  • Assist fire departments with community programs such as roadside clean-up, food drives, and toy collections, for families in need.
  • Assisting those in the community with physical disabilities or financial challenges to assure they know about fire department services
  • Adopt-a-hydrant programs – help by maintaining fire hydrant access (i.e., removal of snow, cutting away of high-growth weeds/grasses, removal of overgrown brush/shrubs)
  • Assist with mitigation measures, i.e., wildland vegetation removal near structures, ID of otherwise unknown hazards, educating citizens/civic associations about ways they can reduce their exposures to these and other dangers
  • During times of heightened national security alerts, assist in planning for quick access to stocks of emergency supplies, assurances that shelters are readied, and reviews of procedures involving community organizational interactions

Numerous opportunities exist for those with specialized capabilities to assist with providing assistance to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC’s), pastoral services, post-emergency traumatic counseling, video production, research, landscaping, facilities design, target hazards identification, graphic design, business leadership techniques, strategic planning, marketing, insurance services, physical fitness program development / maintenance / upgrading, etc.

Additional information can be found at these Web sites: