The California Fire Prevention Organization (MySafe:California) enjoys a rewarding relationship with the American Red Cross. For more than a year, we’ve been partnered with the Red Cross Los Angeles Region, supporting their “sound the alarm” home fire safety initiative.
There are some important differences between our organizations. It’s that diversity that makes our relationship so positive. The Red Cross utilizes volunteers for its neighborhood canvassing operations. MySafe:California pays its public safety officers and home educators. Our uniformed members are EMTs, Paramedics, or even have their firefighter 1 certificate. As such, our people are first responders. We don’t do the jobs firefighters do, but we enhance that relationship.
When the Red Cross identifies an area they wish to canvass, our research team picks a location nearby. Typically, we’ll then canvass separately, using our pre-canvassing door hangers as an announcement that we’re coming. We also bring our Fire Department partners along with us. In some larger cities, such as Los Angeles, firefighters make introductions only. In other cities, such as Calistoga or Lake County, we also have firefighters working side by side with us, installing alarms and teaching fire safety to our audience of people at-risk.
The Red Cross makes appointments in advance. So, the specific addresses and interest level of people is pre-determined. Each Red Cross installation team gets a list of addresses to visit, and the tools and materials necessary to complete a home visit.
By working side by side, utilizing our contrasting styles of home visits, we’re able to reach a wide audience. After each event, we compare results so that we are able to be effective in the work we deliver.
At the last community canvassing in LA County, I wore a Red Cross polo shirt instead of my typical uniform. It was a pleasure to do so – and it highlights that we’re about making people safer, and working together is just one of the appropriate steps to successfully engage any community.