SCMA Teams Up With Fairfield Fire Department


Sacred Heart University students team with Fairfield Fire Department to create a PSA to inform community members of the work the department does. Photo from Sacred Heart University official website.

Sacred Heart University students team with Fairfield Fire Department to create a PSA to inform community members of the work the department does. Photo from Sacred Heart University official website.

By Brendan Capuano

Staff Reporter

Professor Richard Falco and the production team at the School of Communication & Media Arts (SCMA) recently worked with Lt. Robert Smith and the Fairfield Fire Department to create a video that shows the commitment the fire department has with their community.

Lt. Smith contacted Falco and SCMA with the idea of creating a public service announcement (PSA) to alert the community of situations that the Fairfield Fire Department is trained to respond to.

The SCMA production team, made up of Falco, Professor Gregory Golda, Sacred Heart Audio Visual Graduate Assistant Sean Elliot, and Sacred Heart alumnus Manny Santiago, shadowed firefighters as they ran drills. Falco produced and directed the project.

Some of the activities performed were training on the department’s fireboat, hazardous waste management and a rescue effort from a trapped car.

“People take for granted what these individuals do and how they actually affect our lives,” said Falco. “When we went about creating this PSA, it was really to show who they are and some of the dangerous things they are willing to do.”

The Fairfield Fire Department created situations they might encounter on the job. Firefighters set up and lit cars on fire for the SCMA crew to shoot.

“It was a blast,” said Elliot. “It was the most fun shooting I’ve had while at Sacred Heart.”

Elliot, who acted as a cameraman, credits the fire department for the positive experience and efficient cooperation.

“We were both comfortable with each other,” said Elliot. “We sat down and had conversations about what we wanted to do. They told us what their day was like, what their typical calls were, and we told them we do this, this and this, and it all starts with a conversation. It was easy for us to go out and do what we had to do because it felt natural. We all had it pre-planned, and they were perfectly comfortable with us doing what we had to do to get the great shot.”

From working with the Fairfield Fire Department, the SCMA crew gained an appreciation for the selfless work which these men and women do each day.

“It was really great working with them and helping them with their mission,” said Golda.

The Fairfield Fire Department is made up of over 100 firefighters who serve 60,000 residents and businesses within 32 square miles.

The video worked to recognize the work firefighters do every day, while giving some insight on what it’s like to be in a position like they are.

“I did not realize their commitment to the community,” said Falco. “And that’s really important that they feel so strongly about the community that they have chosen to become firefighters.”

SCMA not only saw this video as a way to collaborate with the fire department, but also as a way to give back to an organization that has dedicated a lot of time and effort in providing information about safety and protecting the community.

“This project falls in line with the mission of the school in terms of who we are and how we define ourselves in terms of public service. Making this [the pSA] was just another form of public service and contributing, giving back, to the community,” said Falco.

SCMA viewed this collaboration as a way to expand their connections within the community.

“I think that there was a bond,” said Falco. “It’s a way that the community builds this web of interconnections that says we are a community. This community has to function for the benefit of the community and not a singular individual. We all have to contribute to that to some level.”

SCMA has aspirations of collaborating with other community members in the future to create quality content.

“I think this is also a beginning of how SCMA is going to make valuable contributions to the community. This is one of a number of things that our hopes and plans will revolve around,” said Falco.

To learn more about the SCMA collaboration with the Fairfield Fire Department you can watch the PSA at this link: https://vimeo.com/200835500

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