Fire Zone offers interactive learning environment
FDNY Fire Safety Education Fund Fire Department
NEW YORK, NY -- The Fire Safety Education Fund of the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) received a 2003 Fire Prevention and Safety grant to create "Fire Zone on the Road," a new version of the FDNY's Fire Zone learning center. The existing Fire Zone, located next to Radio City Music Hall in New York City, is a hands-on, interactive, and multimedia fire safety learning center that teaches people how to be safe from fire at home and at school.
With the grant, the Fire Safety Education Fund will be able to adapt the Fire Zone program so it can be taken on the road and distributed widely to schools and community centers throughout the city's five boroughs, especially those communities considered to be at highest risk of fire. The grant will help them create the new "Fire Zone on the Road" curriculum and a virtual Fire Zone education program that is accessible on the Internet.
"Fire Zone on the Road" will send outreach teams of retired and active firefighters to communities that have been identified as being at high risk based on rates of fire fatalities and injuries. It will target new immigrant communities and translate fire safety education materials into Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic.
The current Fire Zone learning center uses theater, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences to teach fire safety, including a variety of fire prevention and safety tips. The center opened in October 2000 and receives about 35,000 visitors per year, including children from schools and summer camps, senior citizens groups, and tourists.
In the theatrical component, five actors give testimonials that dramatize the top five causes of fires. Later, visitors watch demonstrations of how the fires described in the stories originally started and how they could have been prevented. By taking this concept on the road, "we will take the Fire Zone's lessons of empowerment to prevent fire into the communities that are at highest risk," says Michelle Lemay Santiago, executive director of the FDNY Fire Safety Education Fund. Planning, curriculum development, and language translations are in progress, and Lemay Santiago anticipates having the "On the Road" program ready to implement by mid 2005.