Colorado Springs Fire Department Community Services Educator, Brianna Goodwin, knows the best way to get kids to engage and remember is to use creative teaching techniques. Her efforts recently made it all the way to the front page of the New York Times in an article on “clickers” .
Brianna teaches about the consequences of arson through a program called FireFactor, a prevention program that uses mediums kids connect with like clips from current TV commercials, movies and music videos. Using remote control hand-held devices is part of the fun-factor in FireFactor.
Since 2010, the FireFactor program has reached nearly 5,300 Colorado Springs middle school students. Approximately 77 FireFactor presentations were made to 6th and 7th graders, 70 teachers and more than 30 guests from 2011-2012.
“Juvenile fire setting is common between the ages of 10-14,” said Brianna. “We wanted to create a program that spoke to youth in their own language because they are so immersed in the media. There are images of fire and explosions in media every three minutes. We show them examples of fire in media and contrast it against the reality through stories of Colorado Springs fires.”
Brianna uses the clicker system to engage them and get instantaneous feedback. “They are so excited and want to know immediately when they’ll get to use it. It’s fun to watch them get really excited about it before we even start the class.”
She wants parents and teachers to know, “You can talk to kids about fire. Many adults struggle with communicating with teens and tweens. It’s a tough and a serious issue, but it shouldn’t scare anyone away from bringing it up with kids.”
Mayor Bach is a big believer in communication and education when it comes to public safety. “The more we can do to save lives and avoid injury the better,” said Mayor Steve Bach. “It’s efforts like this that make such a difference in raising public safety awareness.”
There are three components to the FireFactor Program: Intervention, Education and Parenting. For more info, email FireFactor@springsgov.com.