Use of Donations to Improve Service Told in Brochure

Public Information Officer Volunteer Fire Co. 2 of Pawtuxet Cranston, R.I.

Use of Donations to Improve Service Told in Brochure

Public Information Officer Volunteer Fire Co. 2 of Pawtuxet Cranston, R.I.

As is the case with most volunteer fire organizations, Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of Pawtuxet must conduct fundraising events to supplement the municipal funding it receives. Our company is one of the four volunteer fire companies that service the 80,000 population of the City of Cranston, R.I., in conjunction with five companies of career fire fighters.

Our most consistent and rewarding activity in this area has been a houseto-house fund drive during which members approach individual homes to seek financial support for our operation.

This approach provides an ideal opportunity to conduct a public relations and public education program as well. To effectively convey our message to the public and keep the time spent approaching each resident at a realistic minimum, three unique fold-out brochures have been created in the last five years by the Training Officer D. R. Bouchard and myself as public information officer.

With the general public taking a harder look at government financial responsibility as it relates to their tax dollar, nearly one-half of our latest brochure is concerned with how our resources are managed. By emphasizing these facts, we attempt to let the citizens know just how much they are receiving from both their voluntary contribution and the municipal appropriation.

Use of funds reported

The newest brochure, which is graphically illustrated to highlight key topics in each section, describes our recently acquired support “squad,” the installation of automatic sprinkler protection throughout all four levels of our quarters, the upgrading of other fire protection features in the building, installation of U.L. listed and F.M. approved urea-formaldehyde insulation to reduce spiraling fuel costs and renovation work to make additional conveniences available to visitors and our bunk room personnel.

We emphasize that all of these improvements are for the purpose of providing better service to the community and that we ceratinly try to practice what we preach regarding fire protection.

The remainder of the brochure urges families to follow our examples of increased fire protection by purchasing and properly maintaining both residential smoke detectors and multipurpose fire extinguishers. Families are also encouraged to create and periodically practice emergency escape plans.

To draw attention to these critically important items, a smoke detector was given away to one of the families approached in each of the five geographic neighborhoods of our first alarm district. An ABC extinguisher was offered through a drawing of those families that prepared an escape plan and sent copies to the station. These promotional giveaways became the theme of several backup newspaper articles which enabled the fire company to gain still additional exposure.

This method of approaching the public has definitely , in our opinion, increased their awareness of our own operation while simultaneously educating them about basic residential fire protection.

Distribution of brochures

Additionally, the brochures are mailed to newly elected public officials, distributed during our annual business solicitation, and given throughout the year to visitors at our station and continuing education seminars and fire service gatherings.

We may be accused by some of tooting our own horn, but in reality, if we don’t, who will?

Historically people do not give the fire service much thought until the need arises. We supply products and services like any other business and to be successful in selling these items, the public has to be constantly informed about what we are doing for them. Granted, our citizens are not able to go to a competitor, but they certainly are going to have a more positive attitude about what they have.

Keeping the people to whom you are responsible constantly informed could make the acceptance of a bond issue easier, help justify the purchase of a major piece of equipment, solidify your position in the municipal budget or increase the yield from a fund-raising effort. People will simply offer more support—financially or morally—to something when they are better informed.

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