Home fires increase exponentially during the winter months.

As the voice of public safety in your community, now is the prime opportunity for your local to spread the message about how to stay safe during the cold winter months.

This winter safety toolkit includes an op-ed for local media, tweets and posts to go along with infographics for social media and a PSA video.

Share the infographics and videos, along with a strong message (tag your friends in the media in any tweets to maximize your reach), on social media and send the op-eds and infographics to your local media as soon as possible.

Be sure to follow-up with reporters and assignment editors to let them know you are available to discuss these important tips for ensuring a safe and warm winter season.

Media outlets are thirsty for ready-to-go content this time of year. Especially when it comes to all things weather-related.

Providing a steady stream of quality content will help establish a solid, positive relationship with the public and local media to ensure they continue to look to their fire fighters for safety advice all year long.

Contact [email protected] with any comments or questions about using IAFF toolkits and tips on further developing your relationship with the public and the media.

Use these posts/tweets for social media, along with the hashtag “#IAFFsafetytips” to maximize your message. Make sure to tweak your message depending on the social media platform. Twitter is good place to tag your local reporters and news teams.

Winter Safety:

  • Never use a generator or propane-powered heater indoors! #IAFFsafetytips
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is more common in the winter months. Make sure your detector is working! #IAFF​safetytips
  • Shoveling show is great exercise, but can cause additional stress on those with heart conditions. Take breaks or let a neighbor help. #IAFF​safetytips
  • A fire hydrant buried in snow can mean the difference between losing a house/possessions or persons to a fire. #IAFF​safetytips
  • Wear appropriate shoes in ice and snow and watch out for slick surfaces. Falls on ice can be deadly. #IAFFsafetytips
  • There is nothing more important than vehicle safety – take the extra minutes needed to fully clear your windows of ice and snow. Make sure you get the snow off the top of your car – otherwise you are putting your fellow drivers in danger. #IAFFsafetytips
  • We all want to stay warm, but we respond to more home fires in the winter months. Use space heaters and generators cautiously and according to the guidelines provided with the equipment. #IAFFsafetytips
  • Dryer fires and venting is a huge issue in the winter. Make sure your vents to the outside are clear #IAFFsafetytips
  • Electrical fires are very common in the winter. Get your wiring looked at by a specialist. #IAFFsafetytips
  • Service your furnace! Fires due to old/expired filters are totally preventable. #IAFFsafetytips
  • Candles are a fire hazard – use flameless candles to avoid a potential disaster. #IAFFsafetytips
  • Stock your trunk for the winter: sand, shovel, flashlight, flares, a portable jump starter, water, blankets – just some of the items we recommend having on hand. #IAFFsafetytips

Your local newspaper is a great resource to help brand your local as the community public safety advocate.

This op-ed is designed for you to send to your newspaper’s editorial team to be included in their opinion section to highlight the importance of public safety, with your local president as the author. Follow up to let them know you are available to answer any questions.

An op-ed is an especially useful tool for smaller papers, including neighborhood weekly services.

If you need assistance reaching your newspaper’s editorial department or have questions about branding your local, please reach out to the IAFF Strategic Campaigns and Media Relations Department at [email protected].

Winter Safety Op-Ed

What is an op-ed? An op-ed stands for “opposite editorial” and is an opinionated article submitted to a newspaper for publication. They are written by members of the community and not journalists or reporters.