Columbus First Responders Larger Than Life


Firefighters and emergency workers were everywhere - and larger than life - last May in Columbus, Ohio.

"We wanted to do something to honor emergency services during EMS Awareness Week," said China Dodley, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Dodley had recently returned from a business trip to New York where she had seen posters of firefighters on every available public space - buildings, bulletin boards, subway walls, even stair risers. "They were everywhere I looked," she said. Dodley took the poster idea home with her, then decided to do it one better.

"I thought, why stop with posters?" she said, and soon found herself talking with Clear Channel Communications, which owns eight digital billboards across the city. Dodley asked whether they had space to donate on any of the billboards during EMS Week. The answer was yes - not only on all eight boards, but for the entire month.

Department of Public Safety photographers rode along with firefighters and EMS crews to snap photos of the first responders in action. From hundreds of photos, the department chose four action shots that showed the range of services that emergency workers provide. The images were sent to Clear Channel for display, and posters were printed and distributed to the city’s libraries for posting on bulletin boards.

"The emergency crews were excited to see themselves honored this way," said Dodley, "and we had a great response from the city."

Dodley advises other communities who want to do something similar to start early—and tap into community resources. "Make the calls," Dodley said. "Find a partner and offer to run their logo along with your images. You might be surprised how many people out there would love to help." 


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