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Barrie Fire is more award-winning than ever

Fire Service nabs new three media awards from International Association of Firefighters
2017-12-05 Samantha Hoffmann
Barrie Fire Public Information Officer Samantha Hoffmann produced the award winning videos. She is pictured holding awards from previous years as the fire service has not yet received its new plaques. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

Barrie Fire and Emergency Service has won three 2016 media awards from the International Association of Firefighters.

The fire department garnered second place in the Best Community Outreach or Educational Program category for its Push 2 Buttons campaign produced in partnership with TVO Kids.

Another second place award for Best Social Media video was for the Barrie Fire and Emergency Services Wishes You a Safe Christmas video.

The Fire Service received Honourable Mention for its #DoItForYou karaoke-style video in the Best Affiliate Community Outreach/Community Education campaign.

This is the third consecutive year that Barrie Fire has been honoured by the IAFF through their annual media awards. 

"To be recognized for not one but three videos is humbling. We want our community to know that we are human, approachable and that we care about them," said Barrie Fire's Public Information Officer Samantha Hoffmann. 

"We are willing to do whatever it takes to get our messages heard, even if it means putting ourselves out there in song.  We are hopeful that our videos will evoke emotion, and encourage behaviour change."

Hoffmann also says it's 'spectacular' that TVO Kids are also being recognized. 

"When it comes to reaching young children, our partnership with TVO Kids not only benefits the residents of Barrie but kids across the province of Ontario," she said. 

Barrie Fire makes the fire prevention videos out of necessity, Hoffmann says.

In Ontario it has been the law since 1975 that residential homes have working smoke alarms. But Hoffmann says the fire department's 'After the Fire' blitz stats for 2016 show that 74 per cent of Barrie homes inspected are not in compliance with the Ontario Fire Code, with alarms out of date, missing, or not working.  

A lot of hardwired alarms are replaced with battery powered which is unacceptable, she said.

"We have been messaging the importance of working smoke alarms for the past 25 years, while the majority of people can recite the message they aren’t actually following it," explained Hoffmann. 

Barrie Fire recognizes the power of the internet with over 4 billion videos viewed every day and chooses to delivers the type of content people prefer.

"We have exceptional talent in BFES.  We received such positive feedback after our initial video (12 Days of Holiday Safety starring Judith Myddelton), that we knew we had to keep trying to reach out through song. If we use music that people know and can relate to we have a better chance of changing behaviour," said Hoffmann.