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Firefighters turn to influencers to improve image and prevent attacks

15:54 06/01/2024

The Brussels fire brigade plans to use social media influencers in the near future as part of a campaign to improve its image and prevent the attacks its firefighters have been suffering.

The public awareness campaign is aimed at promoting the role that firefighters play in society, Bruzz reports, especially as attacks on emergency service providers have been increasing.

Firefighters and ambulance workers in Brussels were attacked with fireworks on New Year’s Eve while responding to some of the 663 emergency incidents that were declared that night.

In one instance, police had to intervene and protect firefighters while they worked on extinguishing a fire, brigade spokesman Walter Derieuw said.

The idea behind using social media influencers in a public awareness campaign is to reach young people in particular, who might not get information from traditional sources.

“We want to continue the campaign that has just finished, using influencers to raise awareness among children and young people in the most vulnerable neighbourhoods of the role that firefighters and ambulance workers play in society,” Derieuw said.

The fire brigade also wants to increase its presence in youth centres, where young people can meet firefighters, learn how to resuscitate, receive advice on fire prevention and even operate a hose from the fire engine.

“We risk our lives to help the public – it's absurd to have to monitor our environment for our own safety at the same time,” said Derieuw.

“It’s actually incomprehensible that we are being targeted. As emergency workers, we are on standby day and night. Some people are really trying to injure us and cause damage.”

Written by Helen Lyons