Montana State University students produce visual media promoting fire and emergency safety in Bozeman

Working with the Bozeman Fire Department, students create engaging video content focused on fire safety, accident prevention, and emergency awareness


Carl Nelson


Susan Gallagher, Marshall Curry


Bozeman, Montana
Montana State University
Community Engaged and Transformational Scholarship (CATS)
Case Type
Project Stories
EPA Region 8, USA

Located in southern Montana, the City of Bozeman is home to approximately 50,000 people. The Gallatin County seat offers a thriving arts scene, cultural festivals, farmers’ markets, and excellent outdoor recreation in nearby Paradise Valley, Yellowstone National Park, and the Gallatin Mountains. Local officials and residents value a sustainable, equitable, and participatory approach to community planning across a range of focus areas.  

Fire department envisions prevention through education

Public awareness is an essential part of emergency prevention and preparedness. A well informed public is better equipped to avoid emergencies altogether and safely navigate them should they arise. The City of Bozeman Fire Department wished to educate the community on relevant fire safety and emergency issues. Fire Chief Joshua Waldo saw an opportunity to do so through engaging digital content. 

Students train their lenses on community safety

The Bozeman Fire Department partnered with Montana State University through the Community Engaged and Transformational Scholarship (CATS) initiative. Waldo and MSU faculty asked students in a Film 301: Issues in Lens-Based Media course to develop visual media to improve emergency prevention awareness and preparedness. Participants worked closely with the Bozeman Fire Department to capture relevant, recognizable footage in the community and craft clear and effective messaging. They focused specifically on fire, accident, and natural disaster prevention.

Compelling media delivers on department requirements

Student produced five final PSA videos for Waldo and the Bozeman Fire Department. The videos are easily digestible, ranging in length from fifteen seconds to a minute and a half. They cover kitchen fire prevention/cooking safety, smoke alarm installation, natural disaster/emergency preparedness, sprinkler safety, and emergency vehicle traffic protocol. 

In our increasingly interconnected age, government institutions must find new and engaging ways to keep community members informed. Viewed on social media or elsewhere, the digital content produced by the project participants has the potential to raise emergency prevention awareness community wide.

Read the full story of the partnership.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

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