Messaging for Cardiac Health in the Fire Service: September 26-28, 2016

When the research is convincing, the meetings over, and the White Paper published, there is a tendency to sit back and say “Well done.” But, if we want research to have its intended impact, the hard work must continue.

Such is the case with the wealth of data and recommendations that are contained in the ground-breaking White Paper published by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Heart to Heart: Strategizing an Evidence-based Approach to Reduce Cardiac Disease and Death in the Fire Service based on a meeting held in December 2015 in Washington, D.C. Earlier in the year, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation had brought together the leading cardiovascular disease researchers from across the United States to review and strategize their presentations for Heart to Heart.

The Heart to Heart White Paper begins the process of passing the information about reducing cardiovascular disease within the fire service to the people who need it most: firefighters. But to have any affect on behavior, information must be clear, relevant to the audience and actionable.

To help the fire service move to the next step, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is sponsoring a meeting in Baltimore on September 26-28, which will explore how to develop messages that will encourage people to change behaviors. We are inviting several of the researchers who informed Heart to Heart, representatives from fire departments who support cardiovascular disease research, and some from the fire service constituent organizations who have a galvanizing influence throughout our industry. But, most importantly, we are asking experts in the field of health and wellness messaging to spend time with us—to educate us on best and most effective practices regarding how to reach a segmented audience.

We will examine bias issues, groups who are new to the fire service and the most effective mechanisms for dispersing our excellent, common sense recommendations. We will also take into account the natural life arc of any marketing campaign and how to plan beyond this initial exciting period. By the end of this meeting on September 28th, we will have a strategic communication plan regarding cardiovascular disease based on the Heart to Heart research.