It was 2015, the fires in Eastern Washington state were raging. For the first time in state history, officials asked for volunteers to help fight the fires. Three fire fighters died on the front lines and other were injured.
When you’re on the front lines, hearing the 9-1-1 calls and comrades getting hurt, you want to take action. And that what one 9-1-1 dispatch operator did. She posted an idea on Facebook and our founding partner, Jim Couts, took immediate action.
Within 48 hours, our team went shopping at a local grocery outlet and picked up two shopping carts worth of food to drop off at three local fire stations. However, we didn’t feel it was enough. We wanted to bring more attention to this idea of generosity and give the thanks our fire fighters risking their lives to fight huge fires in Eastern Washington deserve.
We issued a media alert, created a Facebook event page calling “Local Awareness of Fire Fighter Day.” We added all our friends, they added their friends and soon we can hundreds of people attending this event in their own neighborhood. The call to action was to bring your local neighborhood fire fighters a box of goodies, thank you notes, etc.
On the day of the event, we packed up our boxes, our team and the 9-1-1 dispatcher to dropped off the boxes of goodies to three local stations surrounding our neighborhood.
Media relations, press conference, social media, creative design, community outreach, awareness, storytelling
The team involved in this project was our founding partners spearheaded this event within 48 hours.
All four local TV stations called and wanted to learn more about this effort. Three of the four showed up to the first drop off point and interviewed our partner Jim Couts. The 9-1-1 operator declined to be interviewed. We held a press conference. One reporter even followed up to the next stop. That night three stories aired, and more and more people started dropping off boxes of goodies with thank you notes. How do we know? People were posting images on our event page!
Also, several of the stories ended up on the news stations’ Facebook page. Within one hour, there were over 10 thousand views, hundreds of likes and comments and over 120 shares. We stayed in the conversation happening on the news channels and directed to our event page and offering them information.
What turned out to be a one-day event turned out to last over a week. It was awesome seeing the notes and photos being added to our event page. It was truly magical!
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