Good Friday afternoon, friends! It’s time for FIND OUT FRIDAY and boy do I have a treat for you!
Today’s interview is with one of my dearest friends in fire and life safety education/community risk reduction. This guy oozes talent and personality and he uses these traits to create impactful safety messages and programs to reach a wide variety of target audiences. He’s turning heads and I’m sure he’ll leave a big impression on you, just as he as me!
I can’t wait for you to get to know my friend, Blaise Harris!
- Tell readers a little bit about yourself. My name is Blaise Harris and I am the Fire and Life Safety Educator for Rocky Mount Fire Department. I have been in the fire service for 14 years. Recently, I graduated from North Carolina Central University where I got my master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate and I practice part-time.
- How did you get into the fire service? I have always wanted to be a firefighter. Before I joined the fire service, I was a teacher. I saw an ad in the newspaper saying that the city of Raleigh Fire Department was hiring. I applied, passed the exams, and was hired September 2006.
- What’s this I hear about you and a fashion show? Every year I perform in the UNC Burn Center Fashion show at
the Southern Women’s Show at the fairgrounds. It is always a good time dressing nice and putting on a show to raise money for such an amazing organization.
- How long have you been doing community risk reduction and safety education? I have been doing safety education for about 8 years.
- What is your favorite part of working in community risk
reduction and safety education? My favorite part is doing my puppet show. I love getting the audience involved with the lesson. I also enjoy doing safety videos and showing people the best ways to be safe.
- You’ve really taken safety education to the next level with
your musical skills? Tell us how you merged your two passions together? As I said before, I was a teacher before I was in the fire service. I would change the words to popular songs and make them applicable to math, science, or whatever it is I was teaching. Then it hit me, I can do the same thing with fire safety! (Hey peeps, Maria here! Take note here because this guy is doing some amazing things! Check out his You Tube channel and look for his work in late summer when my new Fraidy Braidy book is released. We’ve got a surprise for you!)
- I’m so proud of you and your partners down east for “Close
B-4 You Doze.” Can you tell us how you collaborated to
make that winning video? Thank you. I’m still processing that whole thing. Who would have thought that our three small departments would not only be able to compete with bigger departments across the country, but also win?Working with Bekah and Shauna was a no brainer for me. We all
are passionate about fire and life safety and we all have that drive to do some real good in our communities. We bounce ideas off each other but more importantly, we support each other fully. Bekah saw the contest and asked if we wanted to do it. I wrote the song, recorded it, and brought it to them. Shauna’s department has an excellent resource with their Life Safety Adventure House (Maria here, again! Check it out sometime in Wilson, NC!), Bekah has the media background,and the rest is history. “The Triple Threat,”as we’ve become known, does it big!
- You recently finished your degree and have added some
additional responsibilities to your plate. How did you
become interested in first responder mental health and what
are you doing in that field? When I went through my divorce…it was a rough time for me. I was depressed and I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want anyone to worry and honestly, I didn’t think anyone would care. But
I got the help that I needed and climbed out of the darkness that once consumed me. After sharing my story, several people, including first responders, reached out to me telling me that they had been through the same and had similar thoughts at times. I went to grad school thinking that I could be a therapist for first responders. First responders aren’t going to just talk to anyone, but if they know that one of their own is the therapist, they will be more comfortable.
- You certainly are a busy guy! What do you like to do in
your free time? I am single father, so I spend as much time with my kids as possible! They recently have both gotten into riding bikes, so I am having a tough time keeping up with them. Usually, we have game nights where we do board games or play the Wii, but we also do arts and crafts like making slime and coloring. They are my whole world and
I am grateful for them every day. I love being a dad!!
- What’s one interesting fact that very few people know
about you? I am actually nervous every time I perform or if I am in a big crowd of people. No one ever believes menwhen I say that, but I am nervous every single time.
- You have so much talent and so much going on. How
can community members see your work and stay connected
with you? I am on Facebook and YouTube as Blaise Harris, Instagram as Blaizo909, and you can find my kids and I on YouTube as MooZeeBlaizo.
- If a youngster wanted to join the fire service, what are a few things you think they should know? Learning never stops. You will always learn something new in this career. Listen to what those before you have done because they have the knowledge and leadership that you will need, but don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot be successful. Work hard, study hard, train hard, and you will be just fine!
- Any final comments or questions? Thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed answering these questions.
Wow! What a terrific interview! Friends, Blaise is the real deal! He’s as genuine and good-natured as he comes through in these questions and his heart is 100+% into helping those in his community whether that is his local community or public safety personnel.
I hope that you’ve been inspired by him today. Please take a few minutes to visit him on social media; You Tube in particular.
Do you know someone in your community who is doing great things? A teacher? Principal? Public official? Health care worker? If so, please let me know so that together we can share their story! The world is full of genuinely good people, like my buddy Blaise, who are doing amazing things and it is my hope to share their stories with others!
Happy Friday and have a great weekend!