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Top 10 Ways to Give Back to Public Safety

Did you ever consider that while you and your family slumber comfortably in your American dream, there are men and women only moments away poised for action and quietly willing to risk it all to save your family - a family they don't even know?

Whether you take one or all of our recommended actions of gratitude, be assured, they're as much for your benefit as they are anyone else's.

1.  Say thank you.  The next time you meet a firefighter, cop, paramedic or dispatcher, thank them for being on the job.  They'd risk their life to save yours so a simple thank you is quite a bargain.  Do this and guaranteed, you'll make both your days.

2.  Volunteer.  Contact your local police and fire (but only after reading #6 below) then visit citizencorps.gov for more ideas.  From simple office work to disaster assistance, you are needed and your contribution of self will be valued.

3.  Get Educated.  Learn CPR and other lifesaving actions.  Develop a family fire plan.  Know what to do when disaster strikes.  Visit ready.gov to learn how your preparedness helps responders do their job.  This is as important to your family as it is to public safety.

4.  Learn to Observe.  Start or join a Neighborhood Watch program.  You'll learn how to keep your community safe and you'll also learn how to observe.  Why learn to observe?  Because good observers help stop and solve crimes, resulting in safer neighborhoods and less burden on public safety.  Contact a crime prevention officer at your local PD for assistance.  Learn more at usaonwatch.org.

5.  Move Over.  No disrespect intended here, but please get out of the way.  People with lights and sirens are trying to get somewhere, possibly even, to your house or the house of someone you know.  Day or night, pull to the right or as they say in LA, "Please Abide, Pull Aside."

6.  Think Before You Dial.  Speaking of the LAPD, their public affairs office once reported "that 70 to 80 percent of the calls placed to 911 are non-emergency calls."  Same in Lansing, MI, where "About 87 percent of calls made to East Lansing’s 911 center are not an emergency."  Call 911 when an emergency exists, of course, but also know your local non-emergency number.  You'll find it in the phone book.  One common misuse of 911: motorists call for directions to the movie theatre because it's an emergency if they don't get there on time.

7.  Teach Yours Kids.  Teach your kids to respect themselves, their elders and of course, your local public safety professionals.  Police, fire and EMS are allies, not antagonists.

8.  Get Our Your Wallet.  There are cities across America where volunteer firefighters respond to calls wearing work boots from WalMart, blue jeans, a sweat shirt and if they're lucky enough to have one, a hard hat from work.  At the same time, the US Department of Justice estimates that as many as 150,000 state and local law enforcement officers do not have a bullet proof vest.  Why?  Money.  Get this:  According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, 80% of Iowa's fire departments operate with an annual budget of $35,000 or less, including 12% with annual budgets of less than $5,000.  Know this:  It's like that all across the country so if you have a few extra bucks, you better believe you can make a difference.

9.  Write Grants.  If you're visiting this site then chances are you're a grant writer.  You'll find no more pressing need for your services than in public safety.  While public safety's responsibilities are increasing almost daily, for most agencies, funding isn't.  From drug interdiction to disaster response and all calls between, your fundraising expertise can make a difference.

10.  Share These Ideas.  If you agree they're important.

How we can improve this list?  Let us know at friends@grantwritingusa.com.

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