Chelsea Fire and Rescue launches public information initiative with videos
Published 4:56 pm Monday, September 14, 2015
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – The pamphlets Chelsea Fire and Rescue has used to disperse information to the public over the years are no longer the department’s primary tool for educating residents on safety issues.
Chelsea Fire and Rescue launched a new public information initiative last month to replace pamphlets and other paper resources in the lobby of the fire station with videos available on the department’s web and Facebook pages.
Public Information Officer Paul Williams, who is spearheading the initiative, posted the first installment, a two-minute informational video about health and safety regarding bicycle helmets, on Aug. 30.
“It all started when we had a roundtable discussion around the end of last year … about public education things we do to try to inform the public about health and safety information,” Williams said. “I had mentioned the use of pamphlets was a bit antiquated. We were kind of at a point where you find yourself reordering these things and no one is really ever getting them.
“Everybody liked the idea,” he added. “Chief (Wayne) Shirley was extremely supportive. We have so much money we can use toward public education, and we just figured this is way more effective than continuing to purchase pamphlets.”
Williams said Shirley asked him to focus on bicycle helmet safety for children and adults in the first video.
“It can be anything from a fire prevention thing, or something like health prevention,” Williams said, noting heart disease is a common issue department employees see regularly. “Sometimes, if you’re hearing a local take on it as opposed to national, it tends to go over better.”
Williams said he would like to release a new video each month, but the frequency will depend on how much time he has left after responding to emergency calls at the department.
“My first job here that takes precedence is I’m a firefighter and paramedic,” he said. “The call volume dictates how much time I spend on this stuff.”
With his background in television production, Williams is writing, shooting, editing and uploading the videos himself.
“It’s fun, and I enjoy doing it,” he said. “There’s a learning curve for me.”
Williams described the initiative as “economical” and “a mass communications way” to disperse information to residents.
“I think it will get better as time goes on,” Williams said. “We may not be reaching the entire community, but we feel like if it’s out there, maybe it will make a difference.”
To view the first video, go to Cityofchelsea.com/fire-department or visit Chelsea and Fire Rescue’s Facebook page.