14. Public Education


Public education must receive more resources and be championed as a critical fire and life safety program.

Fire and life safety education is an effective means for establishing fire safe behavior among people of all ages and abilities. It also promotes understanding and acceptance of regulations and technologies that can improve safety within the homes, businesses, and institutions. Furthermore, educating the public about how to prevent fires can contribute significantly to reducing firefighter deaths. If evacuation plans are in place and practiced by residents of a home or occupants of an office building, responding firefighters will not as frequently face the personal risk associated with rescuing trapped citizens. Moreover, fighting extremely dangerous fires will become a less frequent necessity as individuals assume personal responsibility for maintenance of smoke alarms and as they adopt early suppression technologies such as fire sprinklers.

The 14th Initiative asks us to rethink our priorities in the fire service—to recognize the central and enduring value of public education, and to raise fire prevention to the level of other department operations.

Latest Initiative 14 News

  • FireRescue1 launches What Firefighters Want 2024 survey FireRescue1 launched its annual What Firefighters Want survey, with this year’s theme focused on strengthening fire department leadership at all levels, plus how firefighters are taking ownership of their career development even amid a perceived lack of leadership at their agency.
  • New Virtual Reality Experience Tests Users’ Fire Safety Skills In partnership with Meta, FEMA’s Ready Campaign, the Ad Council and the U.S. Fire Administration co-launched a new virtual reality experience promoting fire safety awareness.
  • Common Voices Releases Video on Anniversary of NYC’s Watts Street Fire Common Voices, a fire safety advocacy coalition, released a video today featuring Vina Drennan sharing her thoughts on how she turned her personal tragedy into advocacy. Vina is the widow of Captain John Drennan, one of three firefighters who died in the line of duty as a result of the Watts Street Fire in New York City on March 28, 1994.
  • Read the Latest Truman Fire Forum Report The fourth and final Truman Fire Forum convened in August of 2022 to mark the 75th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s National Conference on Fire Prevention. The various strategies implemented since 1947 have significantly reduced deaths in all occupancies, except residences. Outreach efforts to reduce civilian home fire deaths are making a difference but fall short of saving more lives. The 2022 attendees provided recommendations on the next steps at the federal, state, and local levels; they also offered recommendations on the role of private enterprises and non-governmental organizations in community risk reduction efforts. And, perhaps most important of all, the attendees challenged each of us to take individual actions to carry President Truman’s legacy forward for the next generation.
    » Truman Report Resources
  • NFFF Announces 4th Firefighter Life Safety Summit This important gathering builds on the advances from previous Life Safety Summits in Tampa (FL) and Truman Fire Forums (2019 and 2022) to move firefighter health and safety strategies forward. A keynote speaker for the event is Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, whose in-depth work on command decision-making revolutionized the British Fire Service’s approach to incident command.
  • Safety INsight: Natchez Rhythm Club Fire The Natchez Rhythm Club fire was the second deadliest building fire in the U.S. when it took 209 lives in 1940. Of course it made headlines, but it faded quickly from the spotlight. It’s a major disaster most people have never heard about. The case has been made it has been overlooked because the fire occurred in a Black community in the deep South. Still, future fire protection engineers are now learning from this tragedy. This episode of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Safety INsight looks closely at important lessons still relevant 82 years later.
  • National Fire Service Research Agenda Report Released Researchers and fire service practitioners met virtually last year for the 4th National Fire Service Research Agenda Symposium resulting in the National Fire Service Research Agenda Report with nearly 300 recommendations.
  • National Firefighter Life Safety Summit 2022 Postponed The National Firefighter Life Safety Summit 2022 Planning Committee has postponed the Summit due to the current impact of the coronavirus pandemic on fire departments across the country. A new date for the Summit will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
  • Fire Hero Learning Network Reaches New Milestone The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is excited to announce that the Foundation’s online learning platform, the Fire Hero Learning Network (FHLN), has reached a milestone of over 130,000 registered users.
  • National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to Promote Kartoon Channel! Series “Rainbow Valley Fire Department” as Educational Tool The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation continues to spread fire safety and prevention education awareness by joining forces with Genius Brands International’s Kartoon Channel! and its Rainbow Valley Fire Department series. Together, kids, parents and educators will heed the call to action to be a hero and save lives through learning important lessons presented in the series. The Foundation will promote the series through multiple points of distribution to their network as an entertaining, free resource to be used while educating kids on the importance of fire safety and prevention.