It’s Fire Prevention Week, How’s your community equity?

It’s Fire Prevention Week, How’s your community equity?

This year Fire Prevention Week will take place from October 6th through the 12th.  In most cases, Fire Prevention Week extends to the entire month of October and provides a unique opportunity not only to educate community members, but also to build community equity with those that we serve.   In order to build community equity, we as an industry must continue to provide value-added services, which residents don’t always expect.  When we go beyond that basic expectation and work to prevent an emergency from taking place, our bond with our community begins to strengthen and we can build community equity. 

Some might ask, what is community equity?  Think about it like this; when you purchase a home in most cases you start off with a small amount of equity.  As time goes on and you continue to provide the services that the bank expects i.e. paying your mortgage every month, you begin to build equity in your home that you can someday cash in at the time of sale or if an unforeseen emergency occurs.  But what if you go the extra mile and you begin to make improvements, perhaps performing upgrades to the finishes of the home and making small improvements, what happens to your equity in the home?  Well your equity begins to grow at a dramatic rate, in fact, work performed by homeowners in this fashion is referred to as sweat equity. 

The same principle can apply to the fire service.  When we go the extra mile and provide those value added services we build a little bit of sweat equity with our community.  We build relationships that translate into equity and at a time of need, we may be able to cash in and withdraw some of that equity.  For example, when you desperately need that additional fire station or staffing, perhaps members of your community can draw on positive experiences and begin to work with you and not against you on accomplishing your goals.  

How can we develop equity in the communities we serve? The fire service is fortunate to have national resources available to assist in building that equity from groups like NFPA,  USFA, and Vision 20/20. Additionally, we have a great local statewide resource at Fire Safe South Carolina. You can even request a side-by-side burn sponsored by the SC Fire Sprinkler Coalition and the SCSFA’s Life Safety Education Section.

So, whether we participate in Fire Prevention Week or it has translated into Fire Prevention Month within our community, don’t stop there.  Continue that momentum throughout the year and stay engaged with your community.  Continue to provide those value added services such as installing smoke alarms, performing home safety surveys, assisting with the correct installation of car seats, or simply stopping by and engaging community members during a local meeting such as an HOA meeting.  If we as an industry continue to build community equity, we may someday be able to call upon that very community and make a withdraw from the equity that we have built.  

William E. Broscious, III
SCSFA Life Safety Education Section President

Life Safety Education

 

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