Audience Response Technology Helps Firefighters Improve Child Safety

The Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) provides rescue services to a broad, diverse, urban region. The department’s mission goes beyond emergency response: MFD personnel lead a variety of initiatives, including fire safety programs and Project Staying Alive, an anger management program delivered in conjunction with Milwaukee Public Schools. With the help of TurningPoint® polling software from Turning Technologies, MFD has been able to increase student engagement and improve program results.
Project Staying Alive educates Milwaukee sixth graders on appropriate anger management techniques with an aim of reducing the incidence of injuries due to violence within the city. Patterned on a highly successful predecessor initiative, the program consists of several sessions that are delivered by MFD personnel with the students’ teachers. The program is funded by a Safe Schools / Healthy Students grant and is presented at no cost to the schools.
“TurningPoint® helps us get an accurate read on students’ baseline knowledge,” said Lieutenant Dave Anderson, MFD. “We measure their answers to a series of questions before we deliver each session, then gauge responses after the sessions to see how much they’ve learned. This gives us a way to quickly find out if we’re getting through to them.”
With TurningPoint®, MFD can embed questions directly into the PowerPoint® presentation they use to deliver the sessions. Children answer questions on the screen using response keypads, and the software quickly aggregates the data, displaying graphs and consolidated numbers to let both educators and students know where they stand as the sessions progress.
Instructors can use this data on the fly to adjust their approach, emphasizing material that participants may need extra help with in real time. Lieutenant Anderson also reports that using TurningPoint® technology helps MFD increase student participation:
“We aim for 100% student participation, and since the kids can use response keypads to submit answers anonymously, they don’t worry about getting the answer wrong in front of the entire class,” he observes. “This makes them more comfortable with participating.”
Since the department began using the presentation software for the Project Staying Alive program, the firefighters and teachers have noticed that the children are more engaged. Lieutenant Anderson has also noticed a trend that may indicate that the program’s message is finding greater resonance within the community:
“When we administer our baseline knowledge quiz prior to starting the sessions, the kids’ aggregate score used to be around 40%,” Lieutenant Anderson recalls. “Lately, it is averaging above 50% — before the kids get the program education. Since we’re starting from a higher baseline, we’re hoping that translates into higher scores overall — and a safer community for the children of Milwaukee.”
Program data is being compiled and shared with a local medical college, where research is ongoing to further improve safety. To learn more about Turning Technologies, TurningPoint® and other audience response solutions, please visit

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