Contrary to popular belief, firefighters do more than just put out fires and save kitties trapped in trees. Here are some other activities and initiatives they do for the community:
- They are also trained in treating sick and injured people.
- They safely remove people from car accidents and damaged motor vehicles.
- Firefighters are equipped to assist when there are hazardous materials spills.
- Many firefighters are also trained to provide public education on fire safety at community events and schools, colleges, or universities.
Given all of these contributions to their community, firefighters need all the help and support they can get. Fire departments across the United States experience understaffing and underfunding, and now more than ever, communities can also come together to provide support to fire departments.
Firefighters do so much for the community, and businesses would do well to partner with them. Here are some ideas for how your corporate social responsibility (CSR) can help and empower them this 2022.
Provide supplies and equipment
Since many fire departments always face the possibility of budget cuts, it wouldn’t hurt to provide them with funds or the supplies and equipment they need on a day-to-day basis. Here are the types of supplies and equipment you can provide them with and how you can gain access to them:
- You can help by partnering with companies that flame-retardant or fire-resistant clothing, especially if the firefighters in your community also help put out plenty of spills in the area.
- They always need supplies like hand tools, structural hand tools, fuel cans and vehicle tools, weather instruments, fire extinguishers, compasses, reforestation tools, accessories, replacement parts, etc. Talk to the head of their department so you can acquire a list of things that they always replenish and need a constant supply of so that you can be sure that whatever you donate is helpful for them.
Organize a fun fundraising event
One CSR initiative you can explore is coming up with fun fundraising events that can bring the whole community together, like the following:
- Sports day
- Silent auction
- Karaoke night
- Bowling tournament
- Company concert
- Casino night
- Bake sale
- Photo competition
- Car wash
- Selling coffee and other pastries in the office
- Formal corporate dinner
They may be cliché, but people love coming to these types of events for a reason, especially after two years of having been deprived of fun gatherings.
Connect them with a trauma-informed counselor or therapist
Because firefighters are constantly exposed to traumatic incidents beyond just witnessing a fire and watching people lose their lives, it should be a surprise to no one that they are most vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies found that approximately 7 percent to 37 percent of firefighters fit the criteria for being diagnosed with the disorder. Moreover, since many firefighters don’t earn a high income, and some of them are even volunteers, not all of them can afford to seek help for their mental health struggles.
One way you can help meet this felt need is by connecting them with a trauma-informed counselor, one who:
- Understands the big role trauma plays in the viewpoint, emotions, and behavior of a person that has a history with it;
- Knows how to do repair work at the deepest level so that the transformation is not just surface level but also long-lasting; and
- Knows the ins and outs of re-traumatization and how it can exist in all levels of care across all systems and organizations.
By helping the members of your fire department come to terms with their trauma, you would also be doing wonders for their families and the entire community. You would be arming them with helpful tools to help them manage the abnormal situations they see regularly.
But before you do this, make sure to speak with them first to ensure that this is something they welcome at this point in their lives. Be gentle and avoid trying to be pushy—trust that they know themselves more than you ever could, and when push comes to shove, they would be the first to ask for help. Just let them know this resource is always available if they are not ready to take you up on the offer for now.
If you want to help make your town or community a safer place to live, consider empowering and supporting your emergency respondents, like your fire department. Do it through your brand’s CSR, and you would also be creating goodwill for your business. It is a win-win process for everyone involved.