An important task of any fire department is to reduce the chances of fires happening in the first place through community education.
The Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View (SBM) Fire Department is looking for new fire and life safety educators. Until recently, the department had three people in this part-time role, but Peggy Bentley and Kathi Osmonson recently retired, according to Connie Forster, SBM prevention chief. The department hired its first fire and life safety educator in 1996.
SBM will host informational meetings starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and Monday, Feb. 25 at Fire Station No. 3, 11920 Ulysses St. N.E., in Blaine for people interested in the job.
Those interested in signing up for one of the two sessions must call or email Forster by Wednesday, Feb. 20. Her phone number is 763-767-4003 and her email address is [email protected].
Educators are volunteers like the rest of the firefighters and fire corps members for SBM, but there is an hourly wage for time worked. Fire and life safety educators are expected to put in 10 to 15 hours a week. They must have at least 200 hours of presentation time each year to be eligible for the volunteer pension, according to Forster.
Forster said she coordinates the events schedule. There are 14 different programming formats. The educators can go to schools, businesses, community events, homeowners association meetings and libraries, to name a few examples. Besides giving tips on staying safe and preventing fire, the instructors will be able to show how to use a fire extinguisher.
“They will be trained on how to conduct public education, which includes appropriate messaging, presentation techniques and safety information,” Forster said.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]