The public education division of NFPA is accepting applications for the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award, which includes a $1,000 honorarium for the recipient, travel to the NFPA annual conference for an award presentation, and a $1,000 donation to the local fire department to support public education activities.
I talked with our current Educator of the Year, Samantha Hoffmann, public fire and life safety officer for Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, Barrie Ontario, about what the award has meant to her.
LB: What has happened for you since winning the award?
SH: Being named Educator of the Year has definitely elevated my profile in both my department and community. Receiving this award helped to build my credibility. I have been contacted by numerous departments and companies across Canada and have been asked to join different boards, panels and organizations, which has allowed me to share my experiences and knowledge and promote educational messaging.
LB: What has the award done for your fire department?
SH: Aside from the bonus of the $1000 donation to support public education activities, the broader benefit to the department is that we have been give more freedom corporately. It has given us positive public relations, heightened exposure in the community, and helped strengthen our public messaging.
LB: How did it feel to walk across the stage at the NFPA conference to receive the award?
SH: I found it humbling. Since I have been in the fire service and fire safety field for so many years, I am well aware of the number of excellent fire safety educators we have in Canada, let alone North America.
LB: Why is this award important?
SH: It helps to reinforce program direction, recognizes the talent and hard work of the entire department, motivates educators to look at their programs and compare them to best practices, and provides public relations opportunities and value.