USA — A recent study from the U.S. Fire Administration, adivision of the Department of Homeland Security, reveals that many firehousesacross the U.S. lack adequate funding for some of the most essentialfirefighting tools.
Among the greatest needs are communications equipment, protective gear andtraining. To call attention to the many ways firefighters contribute to theircommunities and to help promote awareness of their long list of needs, CircuitCity’s new firedog(SM) services brand recently launched “firedog(SM) AcrossAmerica.” The national online essay contest invites Americans to nominatetheir local firefighters for outstanding service and the chance to win $550,000in much needed donations.
“Firefighters risk their lives everyday to protect us. However, as the U.S.Fire Administration study indicates, many firehouses are in serious need ofadditional resources,” said Peter C. Weedfald, senior vice president andchief marketing officer, Circuit City Stores, Inc. “Through ‘firedog(SM)Across America,’ we hope not only to demonstrate our appreciation forfirefighters’ dedicated service, but also promote awareness across the countryof their equipment and training needs.”
The 2006 U.S. Fire Administration study — “Four Years Later — A SecondNeeds Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service” — was co-authored by theNational Fire Protection Agency. Based on responses from more than 15,000firehouses nationwide, the results indicate a serious need in the areas ofequipment and training. Findings indicate that an estimated:
— 65 percent of fire departments do not have enough portable radios to equipall emergency responders on a shift.
— 60 percent of fire departments do not have enough self-contained breathingapparatus to equip all firefighters on a shift.
— 66 percent of departments have at least some personal protective clothingthat is at least 10 years old.
— 14 percent of departments protecting communities with populations less than2,500 have no ladder/aerial apparatus but have at least one building fourstories high or higher in the community.
— 36 percent of fire departments deliver emergency medical services (EMS), buthave not provided formal EMS training to all involved personnel.
— 63 percent of fire departments involved in wildland firefighting have notprovided formal training in those duties to all involved personnel.
The full needs assessment is available online through the U.S. FireAdministration at: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/grants/needs-assess2.shtm.
“With more than 1.1 million firefighters working in the United States,chances are that most Americans have benefited in some way from the dedicatedservices of their local firehouse,” Weedfald said. “By sharing theirexperiences with these everyday heroes through the ‘firedog(SM) Across America’essay contest, Circuit City will ensure that 10 fire stations receive theadditional funds they need to continue serving and protecting their communities.”
How “firedog(SM) Across America” works:
— December 6, 2006 – March 31, 2007: Americans are invited to submit essays athttp://www.firedog.com/ that describe how their local firehouse or firefighterswent above and beyond in helping them or their community.
— April 28, 2007 — The 10 winning essays will be announced. Each finalistfirehouse will receive a prize of $20,000. The authors of each winning essaywill receive a home “techover” valued at $10,000, courtesy offiredog(SM).
— April 28, 2007 – May 13, 2007: Americans will be invited to vote at http://www.firedog.com/for one story among the 10 finalists that most inspires them. For each votereceived online, Circuit City will make a matching donation up to $250,000, tobe distributed proportionally among the finalists based on the number of votescast.
— May 14, 2007 — The firehouse with the most votes will be awarded a grandprize of $100,000.
The “firedog(SM) Across America” campaign has already lent a helpinghand to firefighters with its recent contribution of $100,000 to the FDNYFoundation in New York City at a ceremony held Dec. 6 at the Ladder 3/Battalion6 firehouse. As part of that campaign kick-off, Circuit City also donated$100,000 to the National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children’s Foundation.