The State of Kentucky has continuously ranked in the top 10 States in civilian fire deaths. This information is shared in the opening sentence of an article in the September issue of Kentucky Living Magazine. At the time of the article’s release, 37 people had been killed in residential fires since the beginning of 2015. In January of 2014, a single home fire in Greenville, Kentucky alone, claimed the lives of 9 family members.
These facts are sobering for Kentuckians, but they are not taking it lightly. Fire Safety stakeholders called a meeting in early June, and along with the Kentucky State Fire Marshal, The Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs, and The Kentucky Firefighters Association, NFPA took a seat at the table. There was consensus for the grave need for fire safety education across the State, and while the group also agreed that typical “high-risk” age groups of the very young and the very old were still needed, the young adult and middle-aged adult population had emerged as a target demographic for some vital safety messages. “We’ve come to realize that adults age 25-65 are the decision-makers in most families. If they are not on board with fire safety, then the rest of the family living in the home cannot be on board, either” stated Greg Schultz, public education chairman for the Kentucky Firefighters Association and the State Representative for the NFPA Public Education Network. And Shultz is one individual who is helping to lead the fire-safety charge. Just a few weeks earlier, Shultz had the opportunity to combine Public Education with Recruitment at the Boone County Fair. The gate show attendance peaked around 18,000 and above it he displayed an NFPA 2015 Fire Prevention Week Banner with the message “Hear the Beep Where you Sleep – Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!” Several people stopped to ask Schultz the meaning behind the slogan. “It appears the slogan is making people think about the concept”. And that’s exactly what he wants them to do.