As MySafe:LA begins its tenth year in Los Angeles, we’re pleased to announce our 2017 results. The past year saw our organization doing more work, in more areas than ever before. The result is thousands of homes made safer, students better prepared to help in a time of crisis, and older adults feeling safer and more secure in their living environment.
We focus on presenting our stories to a live audience. We deliver fire safety, earthquake preparedness, and CPR training throughout the L.A. area. In 2017, we reached more than 12,200 people directly – live – in person.
Junior Fire Inspector Program
We teach 4th and 5th grade students about fire and life safety. This “Junior Fire Inspector program” explains fire safety, sends students home with instructions on home inspection, smoke alarm awareness, and how to escape from a fire. We provide free smoke alarms to any family that needs one.
The program includes three visits, and one of our key metrics is the response rate. 85% of all students who participate complete the homework assignment. For us, this means that students are engaged – ready to participate and be part of the “home safety” solution.
On the third visit, we bring along the most local Los Angeles fire company to greet the kids and provide them with their Junior Fire Inspector ID cards. It’s a thrill to see the pride on the faces of our students as they accomplish learning about being safer in the home.
Our 2017 Junior Fire Inspector graduation results are impressive. We’ll want to do more in 2018, but the past year was a big year for this important MySafe:LA program. Overall, our Los Angeles Unified School District presentations reached an important group of students, most of whom are considered “Title 1” by the State of California.
We calculate much of the work we produce relative to the four “bureau” model of our partner, the Los Angeles Fire Department. The LAFD is organized into four bureaus, covering all 471 square miles of the city, closely aligning with the similar bureau model of the Los Angeles Police Department.
In August of 2018, high schools in the State of California that offer a health class will be required to have all students enrolled complete a CPR training course prior to graduation. This law, commonly called “AB 1719” (Assembly Bill 1719) is a challenge for many high schools, as training, staffing, and time are problematic.
MySafe:LA teaches CPR, not only to high school students, but to the general public as well. During 2017, we taught 5,793 high school students in the LAUSD how to perform hands-only CPR, how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and how to communicate with a 911 call taker.
Older Adult Fire Safety Training
Our most vulnerable residents are older adults. Many people don’t realize that people over the age of 55 are two times more likely to die in a fire than others. More than 1,200 older adults die in fires every year. In the recent northern California wildfires, a majority of the more than 40 fatalities were older adults – the average age being 79 years old.
In 2018, we will double down on our efforts to teach older adults about staying safe. Getting up in years is unavoidable. Dying in a fire is. We’re on the case.
Home Fire Safety Visits
Another core program is our home safety visits program. Our education teams visit at-risk homes in the greater Los Angeles area. We look for fire hazards, and we install free smoke alarms and CO detectors. With a working smoke alarm, a family doubles their chances of successfully escaping a fire, which increases even more if there is a working escape plan that people may rely on.
Our education teams not only provide free alarms, we provide fire safety materials, escape plans, and teach the family how to practice that plan. Every year, our teams install thousands of new ten-year sealed alarms. We aim to increase our installation rate by 30% in 2018.
American Red Cross Partnership
In early 2017, MySafe:LA entered into a partnership via a Memo of Understanding with the American Red Cross Los Angeles Chapter. The American Red Cross is the most recognized disaster response organization in the world, and the Los Angeles chapter may be one of the most focused on the organization’s core objectives.
MySafe:LA is providing metrics related to our work with smoke alarms, not to mention supporting the Red Cross “Sound the Alarm” mission with installation and education teams from our organization.
Renewed Los Angeles Fire Department Partnership
The Los Angeles Fire Department renewed its Memo of Agreement with MySafe:LA, extending what has been a ten year public/private partnership. MySafe:LA has worked closely with the LAFD to promote fire and life safety, to support the four community bureaus as requested, and to provide metrics in areas where MySafe:LA engages with firefighters. Each year, MySafe:LA’s partnership with the LAFD builds on previous experiences, and the new MOA signifies continued growth and collaboration that will continue for the foreseeable future.
Training Support for the Los Angeles Fire Department
Our education and film units collaborated with the In-Service Training division of the Los Angeles Fire Department to create educational material for every firefighter in the field. It’s a core component of our public/private partnership, and it extends the value of working together.
During 2017, we supported the LAFD with two very important programs. The first is related to an annual re-certification process for managing and surviving wildfires. This training couldn’t have come at a better time, as California faced the worst wildfire in the State’s history, and the largest wildfire in the history of the City of Los Angeles. LA firefighters excelled at mitigating and suppressing not only the “Creek” and “La Tuna” fires, but in aiding departments across the State of California. Wildfire season is no longer a season – it’s a 12 month year round threat, and proper training is essential if more lives are to be saved, including those of firefighters.
MySafe:LA also supported the LAFD with video training content related to domestic violence and human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are not likely to call the police for any reason, but they will call the fire department if they’re ill, injured or need other assistance. Teaching firefighter/EMTs and paramedics how to identify victims, and what to do when those victims are identified is a life/critical opportunity for not only the LAFD, but departments throughout the State of California.
Supporting a Resilient Community
MySafe:LA has been actively involved in community risk reduction for nearly a decade. Our public safety officers have been engaging with the community since 2009, all with the aim of changing people’s behavior to create a safer, more resilient city.
That work isn’t just school visits or CPR training. It’s meeting with community leaders, elected officials, Neighborhood Councils, home owner associations, church groups, schools, and other entities to share the many methods of supporting one another, learning how to work as a team, how to survive when firefighters may not be available (such as following a major earthquake), and overall, how to survive.
As we look to 2018, our commitment to community is stronger than ever. Our public safety officers continue their ongoing educational programs, and our field operations is looking to visit more homes, teach more students, and prepare more communities with training that supports resilience and safety. It’s what we do.