The FDNY Foundation joined the FDNY and WABC-7 at a breakfast in Manhattan on Wed., Jan. 21 to celebrate the 16th annual “Operation 7: Save a Life” fire safety television program produced by WABC.
The FDNY will be featured prominently in the half-hour special devoted to increasing public awareness about fire safety, as well as home hazards and the importance of planning for emergencies.
“Here in the FDNY, where I’ve spent the better part of my life, we place a strong emphasis on training and education and I believe that comes across in this year’s program,” said First Deputy Fire Commissioner Robert Turner, speaking at the breakfast. “WABC-7 is a true partner with the FDNY – and with every Department in the area – and helps bring life-saving educational information to its viewers, not just with this award-winning special, but year round.”
The special is hosted by Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter, who has hosted the campaign since its inception at WABC in 1999.
“This is one of the most important things I do. Unquestionably, we have saved lives,” said Ritter. “This campaign gives us the chance to get messages out, to get fire safety and fire prevention messages out. That’s what we’re all about.”
This year, the half-hour will include segments on hi-rise fire safety, electrical fire safety, the FDNY’s Fire Safety Social Media campaign, as well as the story of Probationary Firefighter Jordan Sullivan’s rescue of a baby at his very first fire. Additionally, the half-hour will include special footage of Ritter at the new Marine Shipboard Simulator at the FDNY’s Fire Academy.
“I’m very proud to be here to represent our Department and the FDNY Foundation,” said Turner, “which helps fund so much of the education that truly makes a difference in every community throughout our city.”
“A fundamental mission of the FDNY is to protect New Yorkers’ lives through our educational programs, largely funded by the FDNY Foundation,” said Chief Stephen Raynis, Chief of Training and Fire Safety Education. “We know we can reduce the number of fire deaths by making sure our citizens are knowledgable and have the tools they need to keep themselves safe.”
WABC has played a critical role in helping to spread the FDNY’s message of fire safety across New York City. When two young children were killed in a fire at a home in Queens last October, WABC joined the FDNY Foundation-funded Fire Safety Education team as it blanketed the neighborhood with information, talking with residents and distributing batteries and smoke alarms. WABC broadcasted live from the location, with anchor David Novarro sharing life-saving tips from the FDNY and interviewing local residents.
“This is what we are doing, every day, all year long,” said Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, Director of Fire Safety Education. “We conduct trainings and demonstrations in schools, in community centers and in senior centers across the city, aiming especially to reach people most vulnerable to fire, like children and senior citizens. Programs like Operation Save a Life allow us to shine a spotlight on these messages.”
Operation Save a Life is a nationwide program made possible through a partnership between ABC Television and Kidde, the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products. The public service campaign is designed to educate consumers and raise awareness about the dangers of fire safety and carbon monoxide poisoning. As a part of the program, Kidde has donated more than 1,000,000 smoke alarms to fire departments across the country since 2002.
“Our mission is to help the FDNY better protect our community,” said FDNY Foundation Board Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “The funding made possible by our supporters helps us spread the message of fire safety education and the work of partners like WABC helps us reach an even larger audience.”
“This half-hour special is made possible through the efforts of so many of our partners,” said FDNY Foundation Executive Director Jean O’Shea. “We are grateful to WABC, Kidde, Toyota, Home Depot and The Hearst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital for joining us in our effort to prevent fire deaths by educating the members of our community.”
Every year, 600,000 New Yorkers are educated by the FDNY on fire safety; these education efforts – combined with the reach of the Operation Save a Life Special – have helped reduce fire deaths to the lowest 5 year period in New York City’s history.
Still, Turner added, the work is not yet done.
“Every life lost means we must all work harder and do more,” said Turner. “Together, we will train, educate, and we will save lives.”
The special is set to air Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.
“Here in the FDNY, where I’ve spent the better part of my life, we place a strong emphasis on training and education and I believe that comes across in this year’s program. WABC-7 is a true partner with the FDNY – and with every Department in the area – and helps bring life-saving educational information to its viewers, not just with this award-winning special, but year round.”