Each school year, the Brockton Public School District works with the Brockton Fire Department and Lieutenant Brendan Weeks, Designated Infectious Control Officer and Public Education Officer for the Brockton Fire Department, on a fire safety presentation for students in kindergarten through third grade. When it became clear that Lt. Weeks would not be able to visit the students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he partnered with Brockton High School senior Emma Reardon to create a video that teachers could share virtually with their students.
The nine-minute video is narrated by Lt. Weeks and a cartoon child named Arianna. In the video, Weeks and Arianna underscore the importance of everything from having an exit strategy in the event of a house fire to keeping candles away from flammable items, such as curtains.
“Fire safety training is of course important throughout the year. However, October is Fire Safety Month and therefore fire safety education is touted more so in the fall. Additionally, this time of year Christmas trees, space heaters, and other more traditional heat sources add the potential risk of fire and the production of Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the home,” Lt. Weeks explained.
Weeks was introduced to Reardon by a colleague who was familiar with a film she worked on in 2018 about PTSD in the Fire Service. In September, Lt. Weeks provided Emma with several pages of bullet points that covered the desired fire safety content, which she then turned into a script. Reardon, whose father is a member of the Brockton Fire Department, recommended that they incorporate an animated character as a way to make the film more interactive and engaging for young students. The pair filmed all of the live action content over two days at Fire Station 1. Emma then spent more than 75 hours editing the video, with the majority of the time spent working on the animation.
Both Weeks and Reardon thanked the Brockton firefighters who contributed helmet cam footage of a live action fire, which Emma felt would re-engage the young viewers midway through the video.
Emma has turned her love of film production and editing into an after-school job. She was hired as a part-time Editor and Videographer at Brockton Community Access after completing an internship with BCA in September 2019. Since then, she has assisted the BCA team on a variety of major projects, including the graduation ceremonies for the BHS Class of 2020.
“Since joining our staff last year Emma has shown great potential. Her work ethic, motivation and attitude make her a pleasure to be around. We look forward to her continued success and very bright future,” said Fil Filippides, Operations Coordinator at BCA.
Superintendent Thomas noted how challenging this particular project must have been given the seriousness of the subject matter.
“Emma thoughtfully created a video that stresses the importance of fire safety without using imagery that could cause fear or alarm among younger students. This requires not only the creative skill set she clearly possesses, but also a deep understanding of her audience,” explained Superintendent Thomas. “We’re grateful to Emma, Lieutenant Weeks and the Brockton Fire Department for all the time they put into this important and age-appropriate safety video.”
In a letter of recognition, Brockton Fire Chief Michael Williams thanked Emma for her hard work and attention to detail.
"I have seen the video myself and I can't state enough what a wonderful job you did," said Chief Williams. "Your talents are truly evident and I know your pursuit of a television and video career is well within reach."
Emma's story was recently featured in The Enterprise.