Press Releases

For Immediate Release: March 7, 2006

New York City Firefighters and School Children Kick Off National Fire Safety Campaign & Launch of FIRE IS... Educational DVD

DVD Debunks the Myths of Traditional Fire Safety Education Methods Like "Stop, Drop & Roll" in Favor of Teaching Children and Parents Real Truths & How to Better Prepare to Get Out Alive

New York, NY - More than 100 4th and 5th grade students in Manhattan joined New York City Firefighters to kick off a national fire safety educational campaign that seeks to change the way children and families throughout America think and learn about fire education and prevention. Through a new documentary, filmmakers and firefighters are seeking to move away from teachings that focus on techniques like stop, drop and roll and that popularize Dalmatians.

In the effort, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of Greater New York representing more than 24,000 active and retired New York City Firefighters has teamed up with retired Emmy Award winning science journalist Dr. Frank Field to promote an educational DVD designed to teach parents and children the truth about fires, entitled FIRE IS....

In March, 36,000 copies of the educational DVD will be distributed to professional and volunteer fire departments across the United States. The UFA has underwritten and is taking the lead in distributing 2,000 copies throughout New York City, which includes more than 250 FDNY fire houses. The union is asking its firefighters to visit local schools and communities to show the documentary and address fire safety questions.

An additional 2,000 copies will be distributed in the State of New Jersey through the office of the State Fire Marshal in Trenton and Keane University, with more than 30,000 copies being distributed in cooperation with fire industry trade publications Fire House Magazine and Firehouse.com.

Steve Cassidy, president of the UFA said, "New York City Firefighters risk our lives every day for the safety of others and the lessons that can be learned from this DVD can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injury and death to civilians and firefighters alike. The saddest thing for a firefighter is to have to carry a lifeless child out of a fire and know their death might have been prevented."

He continued, "Current methods of teaching fire education to children and families are inadequate and too embedded in a Hollywood portrayal. We must move away from that. This educational DVD is far and away the best fire safety education tool available today."

Production of the DVD was made possible by a grant from the MetLife Foundation. The documentary is comprised of five 20 minute teaching modules entitled: Fire Is Black, Fire is Hot, Fire is Fast, Fire is Smoke & Gas and Fire is Emergency. FIRE IS.... employs a straight-talking realistic approach to teaching fire safety. It is a serious educational tool for parents, teachers and fire administrators that uses footage contributed from 30 television stations across the U.S. of actual fires, real firefighters and victims, without the use of actors.

James L. Hayes, Principal of Manhattan's Epiphany School, with an enrollment of 500 students said, "Our priority as educators is to teach our children life-lessons that will carry them forward and make them better people. With this effort, we also have an opportunity to teach the students how to take the lead and actually talk to their parents and siblings about creating an emergency plan in case of a fire in their home." The DVD is also being distributed to 50 schools located in Manhattan operated by the New York Archdiocese.

In the late 1980's as Science Editor at a New York City TV network affiliate, Dr. Field began investigating disturbing trends in fire safety records in major U.S. cities. He found that as it relates to fire, it was safer to live in a foreign city like Tokyo, than in a major U.S. metropolitan city. That conclusion led Dr. Field to produce an Emmy award winning news series on fire safety. In addition, since the 1970's, Dr. Field was one of nation's most vocal advocates of the Heimlich maneuver. Today the Heimlich maneuver must be posted in all New York restaurants.

Regarding the DVD project Dr. Field said, "Fire Safety Education for most Americans has been limited to the occasional fire drill in grade school and practicing stop, drop and roll. Many schools offer little more than token education, with many having no program in place at all. Sadly, even many parents have not been taught fire safety lessons and are unable to pass along to their children the right and wrong practices in case of a real fire. That is why this project is so important."

He continued, "Few outside of the fire service know that a true fire situation is so dangerous and confusing to a victim that they would not be able to see their hand in front of their face, even at the tip of their nose; Fire can engulf the typical bedroom or living in less than a minute with a fire so hot and without oxygen, that one could not survive. Our goal with FIRE IS...will be to provide a greater sense of reality for teaching fire safety and bringing home the message about how dangerous fire is, how to prevent it and be better prepared in case of a fire."

Dr. Frank Field was joined on the project with his son, Storm Field and daughter Alison Field, who also provided their services pro-bono.

According to Sibyl Jacobson, President of the MetLife Foundation, the national insurer's arm which supports educational, health and civic organizations, "The FIRE IS...safety education video has the potential to help save children's lives and provide vital safety information to the public. We are pleased to support this important resource that will educate young children and families about the dangers of fire."

At the screening, the students watched a 17 minute segment of the DVD named "Fire is an Emergency, Have an Escape Plan." Following the screening they talked to New York City Firefighters about their questions and concerns about fire and fire safety.

To obtain more information on the FIRE IS DVD please call 800-355-7710 or direct email to: FIREIS@EditOnHudson.com

What Fire Safety Pros & Educators Say About Fire Is...

"Outstanding"
-Tom Olshanski, U.S. Fire Administration (a division of the Department of Homeland Security)

"The Fire Is...safety education video has the potential to help save children's lives and provide vital safety information to the public. We are pleased to support this important resource that will educate young children and families about the dangers of fire."
-Sibyl Jacobson, President, MetLife Foundation

"New York City Firefighters risk our lives every day for the safety of others and this DVD can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injury and death to civilians and firefighters alike. This is far and away the best fire safety education tool available today."
-Steve Cassidy, President, Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York

"It has to be the best video on fire safety I have ever seen."
-Lt. John A. Egan, Sr., Fire Safety Educator/Program Coordinator - FireSmartKids

"Fire Is... has great messages and is well-developed. I would like to incorporate this in my public education programs in elementary schools."
-Frank Elkins, Fire Safety Inspector/Investigator, Nassau County (NY) Fire Prevention Bureau

"In my career I have viewed hundreds of video tapes and DVDs on fire safety and I believe your production is one of the best I have seen, Fire Is... is right on target."
-Captain James H. Karn, Oregon City, OR - 25 year Firefighter Veteran

"Public awareness programs such as [Fire Is...] have great potential for further reducing the enormous number of fire causalities suffered by both children and adults."
-Philip Schaenman, former Associate Administrator of U.S. Fire Administration & President/Founder TriData Corporation