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Columbia Missourian

Columbia Fire Department safety video goes viral

By Grant Suneson
July 25, 2013 | 5:16 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A comedic Columbia Fire Department video advocating the use of home fire sprinklers went viral and has received views from across the world.

The premise of the video is that having a fire sprinkler is "like having a firefighter in your home 24 hours a day." The video then imagines what it might be like to have a real firefighter in your home all of the time.

The video was posted on the "Columbia, MO Fire Department" Facebook page Tuesday afternoon and has steadily grown in popularity in the two days since. Department officials credit the success of the video to people who enjoyed the video, and shared it on their personal profiles.

The video had 1,733 "likes" and 8,238 shares on Facebook as of 5 p.m. Thursday. The total reach of the video has eclipsed 1 million, according to Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer. Total reach refers to the number of people who have had the video appear on their screen, whether they clicked on it or not.

Many other fire departments across the country found the video and shared it with the people who follow their posts. People from countries as far as Belgium and Taiwan have shared the video on their profiles.

Firefighters are accustomed to quick responses, but members of the Fire Department were surprised to hear how many times the video had been shared.

"We are very excited about the public reaction to this video. It has far exceeded our expectations and been extremely effective in raising awareness of home fire sprinklers," Fire Chief Chuck Witt stated Thursday in a news release.

Because of the unexpected response, the Columbia Fire Department might not be finished making informational and humorous videos to relay its messages to the public.

"Because of the popularity of this one, we're thinking about using the platform again," Fraizer said.

The release cited research claiming fire sprinklers can reduce civilian fire deaths by up to 80 percent and cut down on direct property damage by fire up to 71 percent.

The Columbia Fire Department's video is available below:

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.