FIRE 20/20 News and Resources
FIRE 20/20's monthly eNewsletter delivers inspiring articles, thought-provoking interviews and useful tools for Fire/EMS personnel, and those considering a career in the fire service. Topics are oriented around diversity recruitment and retention.
Join the conversation. Sign up now to receive our eNews >
Building Relationships in your multicultural communities - Below are some tips for you and your departments to be more effective.
- Do your homework. The more you know about your target audiences the more effective you’ll be. Whether it is prevention, diversity recruitment or disaster planning and management: one size does not fit all! Each target audience will likely require a different message, a different messenger and a different medium to deliver the message.
- Follow Rule #1 for increasing cultural understanding: If you are unsure about something, ask! However diligent you are about learning your customers’ different cultures you can’t be expected to know everything. People want to share their culture with you when you sincerely want to learn.
- Be aware that your facial expressions, gestures and body language can carry more meaning than words. When there are language barriers, non-verbal communication plays a bigger role. What’s appropriate in one culture might be rude or offensive in another.
- Listen to understand. Some religious and cultural practices may be very different than your own. Some may not make sense to you. If safety is a concern, without judgment and with respect, find ways to help customers honor their practices and traditions more safely.
- Initiate leader-to-leader meetings. These are where the fire chief meets with each of the multicultural communities’ trusted leaders to start the process of building positive, proactive relationships. They lay the groundwork for the fire station personnel’s outreach.