Saving Lives through Facebook

IT student, Chris Kuna, may not be considered a hero but he is helping the Eau Claire Fire Department save lives!  Chris took on the challenge of helping the Fire Department  develop a Facebook page on the Eau Claire city website to spread the word about fire  and water safety as well as other related topics for his Service-Learning project this quarter.

Chris met with Scott Burkart, Eau Claire Deputy Chief of Prevention.  At the meeting, Scott targeted area university students and young adults as being the most vulnerable to serious house fires and river drownings.  Scott had a vision of getting a fire prevention message to this population because they are often on their own for the first time, often in older apartments. Scott wanted to be proactive about informing this group about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, information about Fire Department services, and river safety conditions. His goal was to promote interest and have a sustainable and updated Face Book presence.

Chris has created a Facebook page that will do just that!  Taking into consideration the very busy schedule of our local fire fighters, Chris assisted the department in creating a list of 52 weekly topics to post on the Facebook page, connected them to a Hootsuite account linked directly to the city webpage. Chris also provided a training session and instruction manual with images to ensure successful use of managing the Facebook page by Fire Department personnel after the account was developed.

Chris states,” Working with the Fire Department has been a very rewarding experience for me, as I have learned  a great deal about the department and all the services they provide beyond fire fighting.  This project really brought out the importance of being engaged in your community, and using someone’s talent to help get a message to a larger audience.  Being able to share my knowledge and instill excitement in someone with the possibilities of using Facebook as a platform to inform, educate, and answer questions, has made me a proud citizen”.