After experiencing almost $10 million in dollar loss to farm-related fires since 2010, the Perth East Fire Department is launching a major farm fire safety program. “Building A Farm Fire Safe Community” launches today in the Townships of Perth East & Perth South and the Municipality of West Perth. The first year of the program will include a series of farm fire safety videos, direct mail campaigns, event attendance, presentations, social media blitzes (#FFSC) and a custom farm fire safety plan program.
“Farm-related fires have attributed to over 73% of the dollar loss in our fire area since 2010,” reports Perth East and West Perth Fire Chief, Bill Hunter. “That dollar loss really only covers the structure, contents, vehicle and livestock value. It doesn’t account for the loss of livelihood or the emotional devastation that a fire can create. With these kinds of statistics, it is imperative for our fire department to ramp up its focus on keeping the farming community safe from fire. Education programs like this are key to making that happen.”
The program has attracted some major supporters who have partnered up with the fire department for this initiative. Tradition Mutual Insurance Company, North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, South Easthope Mutual Insurance Company and the Perth-Huron Insurance Brokers Association have signed on as Gold Sponsors and official partners in farm fire safety.
“A program like this requires a lot of resources. Without the generosity and support of Tradition, North Waterloo, South Easthope and Perth-Huron, a program like this wouldn’t happen.” Chief Hunter continues, “Perth County is largely a farming community. If we can reduce the risk of fire and provide farm families with solid fire safety education, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Award-winning filmmaker Zach Patton, who partnered up last year for the Carbon Monoxide video & PSA The Wake Up Call, has agreed to film the farm fire safety video series. Fire Prevention Officer Todd McKone adds, “Zach is incredibly talented and we are very lucky to have him on board again. We are all excited to be working on this project.”
Planning for the video series is already underway with filming set to begin in June and a release date sometime in September. In the meantime, the Perth East Fire Department is working hard on the direct mail materials, reserving space at local events and connecting with farm-related groups. Fire departments, agencies and organizations across the province are invited to adopt a similar program; Perth East has created a resource library of editable resources for others to customize and use. For farm fire safety program information, visit the Perth East (www.pertheast.ca/ffsc), West Perth (www.westperth.com), or Perth South (www.perthsouth.ca) municipal websites.