By Roger Ball
Every week the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority Facebook page has a posting called Monday Motivation.
Each one has a photograph, usually black and white with the AFMA logo in color, and one word prominently displayed over the picture. Next to the photo is a short 1-2 sentence message, always ending with, ““Have a great week everyone. Stay Safe.”
The messages are the product of Mark Garratt, AFMA engineer/paramedic at Station 106 in Wittmann. Some of the messages are specific to fire service or a particular event, but all messages apply to everyone.
Because of his many creative uses of social media to help tell the story of firefighters he was named Firefighter of the Year by the Sun City Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
Here are some examples of his messages.
Team – Monday Motivation. We may have our differences but when we “gear-up” we share the same purpose and have the same goals. Have a great week everyone. Stay Safe.
Compassion – Monday Motivation. Compassion is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. The smallest act of kindness can have a profound effect on someone’s life. Make a difference today. Have a great week
Love – Monday Motivation. Your family is where life begins and love never ends. Your circle of strength joined in love. Have a great week everyone, Stay Safe.
Charity – Monday Motivation. Charity is not about making a donation, it’s about making a difference. You don’t have to be wealthy to be generous. Have a great week everyone. Stay Safe
Eric Kriwer, AFMA deputy chief and fire marshal, said he approached Mr. Garratt two years ago to help with social media messages to the community, and throughout the departments. In addition to his regular Facebook pages, Mr. Garratt manages the AFMA Instagram site and encourages other battalions and stations within the AFMA to participate in social media.
“Mark is a man of few words but excellent at his social media skill,” Mr. Kriwer said. “I feel lucky to have him on the team.”
Mr. Garratt said he has always been interested in art and gets most of his ideas from fellow firefighters who send him photos and thoughts.
“Our goal is to convey to the public what we do every day, and keeping it simple yet meaningful,” he said.
The AFMA is spread out geographically, from Sun City West and Wittmann in the northwest part of Maricopa County, to Sun Lakes at the south edge and Tonopah to the far west. Each community, classified as battalions in the fire department, has its own social media presence. Mr. Garratt said he is working with the different battalions to have a unified look and a more centralized social media location for residents and firefighters to get the communication.
Kim Campbell, AFMA assistant fire marshal, is responsible for emergency management and community assistance. She said social media work like Mr. Garratt’s is also important because it reminds the community of a way to share and receive information easily and quickly.
“If we have a large event where we need to reach a lot of people with a unified message instantly, social media is a great tool,” she said.
She cited such situations as wildfires, explosions, flooding and incidents at the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant where emergency communication would be necessary.