Describes fire statistics and the recent interest in fire-safety programs (e.g., Portland program). RJR is interested in establishing that fire prevention works. Signed a contract with TriData to undertake a multi-year program to test the feasibility of the Portland program application to other areas. Curious in testing it under different geographic and demographic conditions. Examines potential pilot locations. Because smoke detectors are not present in many accidental fires, the report recommends a fire detector giveaway as part of the fire safety pilot cities project. Details how leaders in the Black community "have been approached and they are eager to participate. Fire service personnel are identifying Asian and Hispanic leaders" in Peoria. Clear connections with community action agencies, key opinion leaders, and area ministers were established to implement South Carolina program. Atlanta pilot study retained a professional research organization that was minority owned to conduct focus groups in target neighborhoods.
- Target Market
- African American
- Asian American
- African Americans
- Asian Americans
- Community Groups
- Fire Safe Cigarettes
- Local Level
- Opinion Leaders
- Religious Organizations
- Advocacy Groups
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Fire 8agsty Pilot Dities Projecst
8eptember iA, 1991
o wWhen you met with Jim Johnston last fall and again earlier
this year, he told you of our interest in a fire-safety
education program implemented in an area of Portland, Oregon
that had a significantly higher fire-death rate than the
rest of that city.
a Using fire statistics, officials defined the parameters
of the target area
a Focus group research identified maaningful.messages and
the best way to deliver them
c' Volunteers canvassed the neighborhood one Saturday,
putting door knob hangers on each household that
offered free smoke detectors by calling the Urban
League, a community organization or the tire department
o Volunteers installed the detectors and went over
testing and battery replacement roquirements
o Follow-up reminded residents to test and replace
batteries and delivered other fire-safety messages
o Result: annual fire deaths in the neighborhood dropped
from 12 to 0
o RJR staff met with Phil Sahaenman last fall to discuss
TriDat$ls now published report: Proving Fire Education
Works. Schaenman familiar with the Portland project and
felt it had broad application potential in this country. We
explored with TriData how the project might be replicated in
different geographic areas with different urban/rural
requiremerite and signed a contract with TriData to undertake
a multi-year program to test the feasibility of the
application in other geographic/demographic settings. If
the methodology is suCcessful under a broad ranga of
conditions, we intend to develop a module which will be made
available to fire service personnel across the country to
use within their own communities.
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2nterestingly, as an aside, when TriData was in the United
Kingdom for the foreign diffaerences research, it found that
the budget for fire-safety education in the UK is twice what
they spend for fire fighting. Fire officials there
explained that through fire education, they not only
successfully reduced property and human-loss damages, they
also reduced the need for tire-fighting funding -- all in
all, a win-win situation.
o TriData began what we call th® pilot cities project by
identifying locations in the east, the heartlands and the
rural south which might be potential project sites.
Criteria for locations included:
o must ha,ve the fire statistics required to accurately
identify fire trends and target areas.
c must currently have fire-safety education programs,
providing at least an initial framework for project
o must be willing to commit to complete the multi-year
pro j ect .
a Sites se7.ectmd were Baltimore in the east, Peoria in the
mid-west And Barnwall/Blaokville, S.C. Initial meratings
were held with appropriate personnel in each location.
After fire officials obtained the appropriate municipal
clearances, a second meeting initiated thee statistical
analyses required to get started. Our only limiting
criterion was that since this is a test project, they must
identify a manageable g®o~raphia area. Suggested was a
7-8,000 household upper limit.
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o fire service is a municipal function headed by Chief
a coordinators for the project there are Deputy Chief
Gary Frederick and John Frazier, the department's chief
and legislative liaison officer.
o the target community has been defined as a portion of
the Rosemont neighborhood along the North Street -
corridor adjaGent.to the downtown Baltimore business
district of approximately 7,000 households. Housing is
largely two- or three-family rowhouses. There are no
hi~h rises or housing projects in the target
o the area is primarily poor, with a large Black inner
o City-wide data suggests that careless ugea of smoking
materials, arson and electrical problems are the
leading cause of fire fatalities. Fire fatalities
roughly fit the national profile: victims priraarily
elderly (60+) and children undex 12.
No smoker detectors are present in 40 percent of fatal
The detector did not operate in an additional 15
percent of fatal fires.
a The program focus is now being defined.
Obviously, the goal will be to reduce fire deaths and
injuriee, The program is likely to be a smoke detector
giveaway program through community organizations.
Literature will address smoking and electrical safety.
o Support organizations initially identified are the
Assn. of Rosemont Community Organizations (AORCO),
local ministers. While others are still being
identified by fire service personnel, it is clear that
the fire service has an excellent reputation and high
credibility, and will be very well received if the
major message de],ivarer.
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P Peoria, Ill.
c Again, a municipal service department. It's chief's
position is currently vacant.
o Program coordinators are Ernie Russell, division chief,
fire prevention bureau _
o The target community is 10 census tracts along the
southeastern edge of the city and is known in Peoria as
"The Valley." It includes some of the dock areas.
o Approximately 17,350 people in 7,500 households
a It's a racially and ethnically diverse arsa, with 30-60
percent a minority population, including Blacks, Asians
and Hispanics. It's the poorest area of Peoria. 'Fewer
than 50 percent of the area's residents have
a In 19$9-90, there were 674 fires in tha target area, 10
deaths and 12 injuries. Further data on causes and
demographics of victims is still being researched.
o A smoke detector giveaway program will be a critical
piece of this proj ect.
Key messages and means of delivering them are still
Assistant Chief Russell told us after the focus group
we held there that the session changed his thinking
about how to most effectively reach people with
fire-safety messages, and he says that he now realizes
how important it ie to listen to the community before
going ahead with a specific program strategy. We are
going to give him the time it takes to identify the
different messengers to address thee different segments
in this community.
o Leaders in the Black community have been approached and
they are eager to participate. Fire service personnel
are identifying Asian and Hispanic leaders.
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0 Barnwell/Blackville, S.C.
0 We anticipated that selecting a rural site would be a
challenge. Fire service personnel frankly concede that
programs are most effsctive and generally targeted at
urban situations. kural is more elusive and less well
o Fortunately, the state of S.C. made the proeess far
less difficult than we anticipated. Excellent state
fire marshal in S.C., who, after meeting with TriData,
enthusiastically committed to participating by
coordinating the project from his office.
o Site is actually twos town of Barnwell -- which has a
municipal fire service -- and the neighboring town of
Slackville -- which as a volunteer fire department
o Lloyd Vickery is the Chief in Bttrnwell, Charles Epps is
the aasistant chief and heads the VFD in Blackville.
Sondra Senn is providing coordination and assistance
from the state fire marshal's office.
o The two towne contain approximately 14,500 people
o Both towns have been affected by the economic downturn
-- unemployment is high, there is a large low-income
population and there are significant numbers of
o While there have been no fire deaths for three years,
there are about 30-35 residential fires/year -- an
alarming per capita rate. Property damage runs high.
o Leading causes of fire: cooking and heating-related in
Blackville; cooking and elsatrical/appliance in
Barnwell. There is na data on smoke detector presence
o Program focus: will focus an cooking, heating and
electrical safety. A smoke detector giveaway will
focus on the elderly and BYack communitiea, which were
not well penetrated during a previous giveaway program.
We'll_also be making a special effort to reach
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a Ministers are likely to be key to the project, but they
have not chosen to participate in previous programs.
We hope information can also be distributed through
power bills and social services check mailin gs. Radio
public service announcements will also be an important
help to reach those who cannot read.
Fire service has talked to an elderly Black gentleman
in town, who is clearly the key opinion leader, and he
is very supportive. He previously led a highly
suocsssful "clean up our neighborhood project" and can
provide the leadership to help bring the ministers into
the program. Also, community action agency, agency on
aging and others to reach low-income and elderly
residents are being approached.
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a Current project status
0 Focus groups held In each community in July
a RJR retained a professional research organization
in Atlanta, Ga. (minority owned) to conduct the
focus groups among residents in the target
o present were TriData representative and local fire
o Groups helped identify meaningful mossages and media
for d®livering them
o particular challenge will be the lower literacy levels
of many of the residents of these areas
o groups went exceedingly we1l, and really energizeci the
fire safety personnel who were ready to launch out the
next day and get started
4 Are beginning production of support pieces now -- door knob
hangers, brochures, church bulletin pieces, etc.
o Also exploring supplemental elements, such as a fire-safety
questiannaire that school children will comp lete for school
credit to raise their awareness of smoke deteotor importance
and maintenance requirements, elgctrical/outlat safety
issues, heating dangers, cooking safety, etc.
o Communitieg are lining up their support groups -- local
neighborhood groups, church leaders, community
a 8aselins study to be conducted first week in October -- to
be a second measure against fire statistics -- a follow-up
survey post project will help determine if awareness levels
raised -- something Portland did not do, but we think is
important to know sa we can judge which tactics, strategies
were more imp$cttul, and which were not
b At this time, our objective is to announce the program
rollout in each community during Firo Prevention Week and
start the program aa soon thereafter in each community.
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o tn Bummary: all three communities are very excited and
pleased to be participating. We've seen a high degree of
comaiitment and are optimistic that we wil3l be able to gather
the data required to evaluate the concept of fire-safety
education to reduce fire loss.
o Recent comment in TriData repoxtt -
"Chief Russell (in Peoria) continues to be energized by the
process. While analysis of data hag been a time-consuming
addition to his overloaded sehedule, he reported that the
process has been a 'real eye opener' for him, and that 'we
should have bsen doing this all along.' In fact, he says
he's been coming in at 7 a.m. each day to work on it because
he's learning so muah. He already plans to talk to
battalion commanders about improving the qua7.i.ty of data
collected by explaining to them how it can be used so
effectively to design fire prevention messages. So, I can
report that R.J. Reynolds has already made a significant
contribution to the Peoria Fire Department's fire prevention
effaxts that is likely to affect how things are done for
years to Come."