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Rural Health Information Hub

Vermont Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety

  • Project Title: Public Fire Safety Education Section
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Micheal Greenia, Section Chief
  • Location: Waterbury, Vermont
  • Program Overview: The mission of the Vermont Division of Fire Safety is to protect the public and fire service through coordinated efforts in code enforcement, fire service training, public education, hazardous materials response, fire investigation and urban search and rescue. The Division is housed within the Vermont Department of Public Safety. The Division focuses on several priority issues such as farm fires, home fires involving older adults, and proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as indicated through community risk assessments and data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

    To address home fire safety, the Division initiated the Fire Safe 802 Program. The program mirrors and partners with the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign and Sound the Alarm home safety patrol programs to allow firefighters to conduct free home visits to install smoke alarms, assess risks, and provide fire safety education in single-family homes throughout rural Vermont.

    The Fire Safe 802 program is a comprehensive statewide program that works with local fire departments and other community volunteers, to build on past fire prevention efforts and prevent fires in high-risk single-family homes before they happen. When fires do occur, they make sure that residents have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for early warning and provide education about how to escape. The program was launched in 2017 with funding support from a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) Grant.

    The Division also leads several activities related to farm fire safety. The Division created a video, Fire Safety on Vermont Farms, through a partnership of the Vermont Division of Fire Safety Public Education Section, Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets, and other stakeholders. This video aired on “Across the Fence,” a daily local television program produced by the University of Vermont Extension. The video and information package aim to inform farm and barn workers about the importance of fire safety, how to identify hazards on a farm, and fire prevention strategies. The video also educates farmers about safety strategies, including how to conduct a farm safety survey, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to work with a local fire department to pre-plan for emergencies. This video is available for free to the public.

    The Division also has many mobile educational tools that local fire departments can use. One of the most popular is the Vermont Fire Safety House Trailer, a mobile classroom and interactive educational tool. It offers hands-on fire prevention education on common fire hazards and how to eliminate them.

    In addition to these programs, the Division actively promotes fire safety education at community events, such as the Vermont Farm Show, county fairs, and school events. The Division provides lesson plans to local firefighters so that they can teach members of their local community. The Division often leads hands-on demonstrations that allow community members to practice using a fire extinguisher. The Division primarily refers to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC) Desk Reference and other national programs to develop educational materials that rural community members can relate to.

Models represented by this program: