Pre-plan with Firefighters
When we bought our first house, it was directly across the street from a fire station. My boys, ages 6 and 10 at the time, thought that the firefighters were the best neighbors we could have had. Anytime the boys had friends over, it always included a visit to “the fire guys” and a display of lights, hats, sirens and such. Soon my boys knew all of them by name and by shift. Now some people might not like living across from a fire station. However, it was great fun for us and they were the BEST neighbors. I love to bake and firefighters love to eat, so we had a great symbiotic relationship. We felt safe, secure, appreciated and were entertained by their comings and goings. And no, they did not use the sirens at night – they were very respectful of the entire neighborhood. We were always impressed with their willingness to help anyone in the neighborhood whenever they could. Those firefighters helped get cars started, changed tires, put luminaries out at Christmas, opened locked doors, cut trees after a storm, and displayed many other examples of their willingness to help their neighbors.
So, when I learned from the NC fire fighters we’ve done workshops with about their “pre-plan” program, I guessed the plan would be thorough and reasonable – but I did not expect it to be so incredibly easy. All it takes is one phone call to your nearest fire station (volunteer fire stations included) and they will come to your site and do a “pre-plan.” The firefighters bring the forms, they fill out the forms, they measure, inspect, add details, and do it all for you. They make detailed notes of priority artifacts, structure issues, storage placement and fragile items that need to be protected or handled with care. They are especially interested in historical structures and artifacts. Firefighters are eager to learn how to respond so that these treasures are preserved for future generations.
Do you have any of the following: antique glass in the front door or windows, stained glass windows, hand carved banisters, cemeteries, cupolas, wrought iron gates, or other special architectural or landscape features? What are the priority artifacts that need rescue in case of fire or flood? The firefighters will mark and document all of these special areas so that when they arrive on the scene, they can react in the best way possible to save and protect our historical treasures.
One phone call is all it takes. You make the call; they come and do the work. So, how easy is that? In addition, just for their tireless efforts, bake a cake and give it to them when they finish.
For another opportunity to discuss pre-plans, come to C2C’s next fire recovery workshop in Greensboro, where we’ll hear from battalion chiefs and other departmental leaders.
—Lyn Triplett, C2C Disaster Planning Coordinator