Hello! My name is Karen Berard-Reed. You are reading my first official blog for NFPA! I came on board at the beginning of June as a Senior Project Manager in the Public Education division working with high-risk outreach programs. For the past 20 years, I have worked in the health education field, teaching K-12 students and college students who were preparing to be school and community health educators. Throughout my career, I have also developed and implemented programs for teachers, parents, and community members.
Fire and life safety education is not a new focus for me. In my first teaching position as an elementary health educator, I was fortunate to be on a team who worked closely with local fire department. Health educators and fire fighters collaborated to develop a solid fire prevention program in the schools with the Learn Not to Burn curriculum as the foundation. This partnership was a powerful learning experience about the value of connecting with community resources and influenced many programmatic decisions I would make in the future.
While teaching at Rhode Island College, I often pulled from my experiences in K-12 fire prevention education. I used the “Sparky’s ABC’s of Fire Safety” video to help elementary education majors evaluate qualities of effective teaching tools. “No Dragons for Tea” by Jean E. Pendziwol was a great selection to show future teachers how to integrate picture books into health education lessons. Some of the most rewarding work was assisting student teachers in the field who were preparing to teach their own fire safety lessons to young students. Looking back, I feel as if the roads I have traveled throughout my career have led me right to the front door of NFPA.
The past 3 weeks have been busy! I have already attended my first NFPA conference and expo in Chicago and I have met many wonderful people– our Public Education Advisors and Network members, the Educational Messaging Advisory Committee (EMAC), and the fabulous folks here in the Quincy office. This organization is full of dedicated, friendly people – many of whom have gone out of their way to welcome me to the NFPA family. Even more impressive is the palpable feeling of a team working together towards a common goal. I am thrilled to join this group and make a difference in the world of fire prevention.
I would love to hear from you! Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.