From keeping the public informed about incidents that affect them, recruiting firefighters, and providing potentially life-saving information, through to changing perceptions - there are plenty of reasons why social media is such a powerful tool for Fire & Rescue Services.
Like other emergency services, Fire & Rescue teams are realising the potential of this channel and getting more and more creative in how they utilise social to achieve their strategic objectives.
In today's blog we wanted to share five examples of exceptional social media content and campaigns from Fire & Rescue Services to celebrate the work of emergency services Comms and Marketing professionals, as well as provide transferrable tips and ideas that can be applied to organisations across a whole host of industries! 👏
We had to start this blog with the fantastic response West Midlands Fire shared to a little girl's concern that only boys could be firefighters! 👨🚒
Unfortunately, gender stereotypes still exist in lots of jobs and industries in the UK and are often exacerbated by media. But we love that the team at West Midlands Fire seized this opportunity to make a stand and prove to this little girl that not only are there lots of awesome female firefighters, but that she too could grow up to be one of them. 👩🚒💪👊
This video sparked a wonderful chain response from other female firefighters from other services each sharing photos and stories to prove that firefighting is definitely not only for boys. It was such a powerful positive message that the video actually went viral with thousands of views and shares!
Credit to the team who created this and to all the firefighting women out there! 🙌
We received this message: "My 4yr old came home saying she wished she was a boy so she could be a fireman. When I said girls can be firefighters too she said 'I’ve seen in books they are all boys -I don’t want to be the only girl.’Our crews have responded! #firefightingsexism pic.twitter.com/7TrHrtxQgJ— West Midlands Fire (@WestMidsFire) 18 January 2019
Continuing on the theme of personal stories, we loved this interview with on-call firefighter Dan. Not only is this another great positive story but it demonstrates that if you've always dreamt of becoming a firefighter then it really is within reach if you're committed.
This kind of content is also fantastic for two reasons:
- It can have a direct impact on the objectives of the service in inspiring more local people to apply to become on-call firefighters. 🎯
- It uses the power of storytelling to spark an emotion which we know makes content more memorable! Award-winning social media expert Helen Reynolds shared some great advice on this that you can check out here. 💗
Have you considered how you could showcase the achievements of your colleagues and teams on social media? 🤔
Meet Dan - during the on-call firefighter application process he failed the hearing test due to an undiagnosed medical problem. Dan never gave up - he had his ear rebuilt and in October this year he passed all his tests and joined the crew in Burnham! 👏 https://t.co/Qw7Hrkbodb pic.twitter.com/4bwVH4WUx2— Essex Fire Service (@ECFRS) 28 December 2018
We know that reassuring the public and providing information on incidents that could affect them is one of the main focusses for all emergency services on social media. 🚨
But there's a lot that other organisations could learn from the way that Avon Fire & Rescue Service present these updates.
Firstly, the style of the incident alert is striking and helps to ensure it stands out against other announcements. Secondly, all the information a local resident would need is contained within the body of the tweet and so there's no hunting around to understand exactly which roads are affected and less opportunity for rumours to spread about the individuals involved. ℹ️
Lastly, tagging other local services that are involved like ambulances and police, helps to illustrate how the different organisations work in partnership. As well as encouraging those services to share the update on their own channels which spreads the message further! 💪
🚗🚒 Crews from @BathFireStn and @HicksGateFire are currently attending a two-vehicle road traffic collision on the A39 between Marksbury and Stalcombe Lane. One female is currently trapped and the road is closed. @ASPolice and @swasFT are also in attendance, expect delays. 🚗🚒 pic.twitter.com/2pUyhV6PYq— Avon Fire & Rescue Service (@AvonFireRescue) January 14, 2019
Not only is this weekly round up of incidents attended by Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service super eye-catching, but it's actually helping to communicate a really important message.
For many people, their perceptions of what Fire & Rescue Services actually do will be mostly limited to tackling fires. But as these figures show, that's only a fraction of the work that many firefighters will take on and their skills are called into action in a variety of situations. 🔥
Content like this helps to educate the public about the crucial role that the Fire & Rescue service play in their local area and the different ways in which they can help.
Have you considered how you could benefit from sharing a similar breakdown of your weekly or monthly activities? 🤔
Last week, crews from LFRS attended:— Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (@LeicsFireRescue) 21 January 2019
❗️ 54 False Alarms
🔓 41 Special Services
🔥 23 Fires
🚙 3 Road Traffic Collision
🗜 2 Rescues#WeeklyRoundUp #NoDayTheSame #NotJustFires
Follow @LFRSFireControl for live updates on incidents
(📷 @LFRS_Central) pic.twitter.com/WMffPzxXig
Last but by no means least, Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service's #TwitterTakeover stood out to us because it shines a light on the awesome but often unseen work the service do in maintaining all the hydrants in the area. 💦
This content is ticking four great boxes:
- Highlights why maintaining the hydrants is so important and all the work that goes into it to inform.
- Creates opportunities for other departments or teams to get involved with social media and share their own personalities and experiences.
- Encourages audiences to keep coming back to the Twitter profile to see what else the team get up to.
- In getting out and about with the team, there are opportunities to capture more images and videos that we know the social networks often prioritise. 📹
Did you follow our hydrants team💦 #TwitterTakeover? We've put together a little 🎞️ to show some of the things they got up to yesterday, whilst maintaining some of the 20,000 hydrants in #Cambridgeshire. pic.twitter.com/i0XW4vpaAl— Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (@cambsfrs) 15 January 2019
That's a glimpse at some of the content we've been loving from Fire & Rescue Services across the country. Of course this is not an exhaustive list and if we could feature many many more we would because there's no shortage of great social media content and campaigns being published! 😍