Committee: Public Education Committee

Contact: Tom Pitschneider, Chair - [email protected]

2020 Mission: The mission of the Public Education Committee is to support the safety education process of the fire service and communities of Minnesota in order to reduce the loss of life and property from preventable events through the use of technology, information and resources.

2020 Report: The 2019-20 year has been a challenge for the Public Education Committee, just as it has been for the Association. We continue to work on several different areas and currently have a sub-committee working on a program aimed at young adults. The goal is to develop tools that fire departments can use in their community to educate students and young adults between 17 and 24 on the importance of fire safety. This could include items to look for when moving out to college or their first apartment or home. We are hoping to launch the program in 2021, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kitchen Fire Safety Live Demonstration Units continue to be popular, and each of the trailers remain in demand throughout the state; however, their use has been limited this year due to COVID-19. We are in the process of relocating all of the units, but that has also been delayed. The South Kitchen Fire Safety Live Demonstration Unit was relocated from Faribault to Dodge Center earlier this year. We are still looking for a host department for the North Kitchen Fire Safety Live Demonstration Unit and for the Interactive Kitchen Education Simulator. Please contact us if your department can host on of these units. Host sites have the unit for 2 years with ongoing support from committee and office staff.

The Kitchen Fire Safety Live Demonstration Units demonstrate what happens when you add water to a grease fire. Utilizing 1-inch of grease in a pan, the fire extends out of the unit when one cup of water is poured into the pan. The unit provides a strong visual message on the dangers of kitchen fires and what can happen when water is used instead of some type of lid.

The Interactive Kitchen Education Simulator is currently hosted by the Ramsey Fire Department. This unit is an interactive self-contained kitchen fire prevention and safety education tool. Participants are challenged to find hazards in the kitchen and learn prevention techniques using a variety of props provided in the simulator. The unit features integrated digital flames in the oven and trash can, training smoke and sound effects. 

Also available are the Safety Hopper inflatable and the 9/11 memorial float materials. If you are interested in renting any of these units offered through the Public Education Committee, check out the committee’s tab on the MSFCA website or contact the office.

Thank you to Becky White, Mike Turnbull and Bethany Brunsell for the service to the Public Education Committee.

We hope to see you at the next annual MSFCA conference. We also still have some toolkits available for those departments that need them. If you are interested, please contact the office.

2020 Public Education Committee Members

  • Chair: Tom Pitschneider, Fire Marshal, Shakopee
  • Amanda Swenson, Fire & Life Safety Educator, State Fire Marshal Division
  • Dan Bernardy, Training Officer, Inver Grove Heights Fire
  • Darrin Bramwell, Deputy Chief, Eagan Fire
  • David Jensen, Assistant Chief, Hugo Fire
  • Eric Zimmerman, Assistant Chief, Mdewakanton Public Safety
  • James VanEyll, Fire Chief, Long Lake Fire
  • Jeff Smith, Captain, Elk River Fire
  • Jeremy Berger, Education Coordinator, St. Paul/New Brighton Fire
  • Kathi Osmonson, Fire & Life Safety Educator, State Fire Marshal Division
  • Sarah Buhs, Captain, Cloquet Area Fire District
  • Tom Brace, National Fire Sprinkler Assn., 
  • Wayne Kewitsch, Fire Chief, Richfield Fire
  • Eric Lind, Fire Inspector, Maple Grove Fire

Public Education Committee File Library