How to make your open house successful

By the NFPA

One of the most successful ways to spread community awareness during Fire Prevention Week is through open house events.

Tips to ensure their success include:

The date
Your open house can be held during the day or evening, but it must be a time that people in your community are available. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are often most convenient for families, and fewer events tend to take place on weekends. However, check the community calendar to make sure there are minimal conflicts.

Adequate staffing/equipment
Emergencies can happen at any time, including during an open house. If your event is being held at a fire station, make sure enough firefighters are available so that even if a crew must leave, there is still staff available to meet with visitors.

Dress for success
This is your chance to showcase your fire station to your community. Assign someone to dress in the official Sparky the Fire Dog costume. Make sure the station is clean and inviting, with good signage and theme-related decorations to draw attention.

Have handouts ready
Have handouts available for all age groups. Distribute printed materials that reinforce your fire safety messages.

Keep it brief
Generally, the public won't attend an event that requires hours of their time. Visitors should be able to learn at least one positive fire safety action that will help them learn safety messages in 30 minutes or less.

Feed them
Nothing draws a crowd like good food. Arrange for a local restaurant or fast food outlet to sponsor and provide refreshments or have firefighters cook up their favorite specialty

Make it fun
Open houses should be fun! Hold activities that allow visitors to meet firefighters, move around the fire station, and learn about fire safety in the process. Human interaction creates a personal experience for people, and is key to an open house's success.

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