The initiative, “Fire Safety Measures,” relates to the MAP Initiative 4, “Creating Attractive and Desirable Places.” It relates specifically to Action 6,”strengthening code enforcement,” and Action 7, “promoting and expanding community-based neighborhood enhancement programs”. It also relates to the MAP Initiative 3, “Strengthening Pride and Image”. It relates specifically to Action 3, “Utilize social media more effectively to promote community pride and event awareness,” and can offer the community a main place to find key information instead of separate social media platforms and respective pages. This initiative will focus on the relationship between community and public service providers. What the MAP initiative is intending to do is increase optimism in the Muncie neighborhood. The initiatives created under this MAP action are aimed to encourage positive attitudes.
This was an initiative that was brought up by concerned residents at our February 2016 Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood Association (TPANA) meeting. This works well with other initiatives such as “Crime/Safety” or “Health Support”. The “Block Party” initiative partnered with “Fire Safety Measures”. As a result of the partnership, the May 2016 TPANA meeting will have a fire truck present. Children and community members will be able to meet the fire fighters that serve the community. Hopefully this will spur even more community networking and involvement.
This initiative shows that public sector employees and staff members such as the Muncie Fire Department are more than willing to assist in the community they serve. Having a program that offers community members tours of the facilities or rides on the fire engine will give the neighborhood members a sense of connection. Also, adding more fire hydrants allows for easier access and betters attempts to extinguish fire-related issues.
Partnering with the Muncie Fire Department (MFD) is crucial to making these initiatives work. The department has already agreed to have a fire engine at our May 2016 TPANA meeting. The presence of the fire engine at the kick-off event will help to make the members of the community feel as though they matter The MFD has social media websites, but perhaps the best way to increase their presence is to interconnect all governmental agencies on the local level to create an easy notification system that are located one place online. Including programming that distributes and installs smoke alarms for individuals with disabilities would greatly improve fire safety. Programs similar to this have been successful in other towns. In addition to installing more smoke alarms, there has been interest in including more fire hydrant throughout the neighborhood. Muncie does not have this process available for the general public; contacting utilities in Muncie as well as the Muncie Fire Department is the starting point for these initiatives.
Figure 4 – Future initiative on fire safety. – Source: Paul Jones
Adding fire hydrants throughout TPA will assist the entire Muncie community and make both safer places. Arson is a major concern that has been discussed. Adding fire hydrants will help the neighbors that have concerns feel like their opinion and voice is important to the Thomas Park/ Avondale plan. Any firefighters or volunteer firefighters who may live in TPA may be interested in leading this initiative. The volunteer or full time employee should attend the neighborhood meetings or give updates through the president of the neighborhood organization. Voting for someone is another option. This could potentially be grouped with other smaller initiatives for TPANA members to address.
The map below shows the existing fire hydrants as well as the potential fire hydrants according to the average spacing. Regulations for fire hydrant placement range average 400 feet of separation. It also identifies fire-related destinations in TPA. This initiative applies to the entire area because fire prevention applies at a neighborhood level.
One idea is based on the City of Austin’s Fire Department free smoke alarm hotline and free smoke alarm program.¹ The free smoke alarm program gives homeowners, and those in need of aid, free installation. The Austin (Texas) Fire Department also offers a ‘Home Hazard Checklist’ for citizens. One item included is as simple as to “Have your house number visible from the street” and “Clean the dryer lint trap after every use”.² Firefighters attend community functions such as career fairs and youth events.
Great Lakes Burn Camp
Great Lakes Burn Camp (GLBC) is funded by a group of individuals that shared a common interest in allowing a place for burn victims to come for recreation and evade uncomfortable glances that may occur at a traditional camp.³ Michigan’s homegrown Chris Klavon volunteered in Minnesota for a camp similar to this one. Donors to the initial camp funds in 1994 were burn centers, firefighters, and private citizens. They began in the summer of 1995 with 45 students. Volunteers cover the staffing for camps from all over the United States.
There is now a Winter Camp and a Summer Camp in Jackson, Michigan.4 Fundraisers include golf outings, percentages of reverse mortgages from loan officers, luncheons, sponsors, donations, sponsors of campers, tax write-offs, and other donated funds from local organizations. The Great Lakes Burn Camp promotes volunteering by having a ‘Volunteer of Month’. Scholarships are available for prospective campers (ages 6-17). There are Board Members that assist in the direction of the camp. TPA has the green space and resources to recreate this camp. The Great Lakes Burn Camp is an example of how a fire department can educate youth on fire safety and bring youth together.
There are mostly federal grants and funding programs for fire safety preventative efforts. The FM Global Fire Prevention Grant Program offers financial support to organizations working to combat fire. Through the Fire Prevention Grant Program, fire departments and brigades, as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations can apply for funding to support a wide array of fire prevention, preparedness and control efforts, including pre-fire planning, fire prevention education/training and arson prevention/fire investigation.
Fire Prevention and Safety Grants is a federal grant opportunity that offers $34 million for 100 awards. Individual awards will not exceed $1.5 million. Cost sharing/matching at 5% is required. Funds are available for a plethora of activities (included but not limited to): general education/awareness of fire prevention and safety activity, code enforcement/awareness, fire & arson investigation, national/state/regional programs and studies, and other programs including research and development activity. The grant offers grant writing for a fee or there is an option to file the application independently.
Muncie Fire Department
300 N. High Street City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone: (765) 747-4876
Fax: (765) 254-1601
Contact: David Miller, Chief Inspector
Additional websites of interest
1: Austin Fire Department, “Smoke Alarms,” City of Austin, 2013, http://www.austintexas.gov/department/smoke-alarms
2: Austin Fire Department, “Home_Hazard_Checklist,” City of Austin, 03 June 2013, http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Home_Hazard_Checklist.pdf.
3:Great Lakes Burn Camp, “History,” Great Lakes Burn Camp, 1995, http://www.greatlakesburncamp.com/history.php
4: Great Lakes Burn Camp, “Camper of the Month,” Tylar & Company, 2016, http://greatlakesburncamp.org/camper-of-the-month/