Sunday, September 20, 2020

Southlake Fire Station Tours Go Virtual

Fire station tours have been an important bond between residents and the City of Southlake Department of Public Safety. However, COVID-19 restrictions hindered how the Fire Department continued to deliver this educational service to residents. 

Calendar coordination, time constraints, social distancing guidelines and even making sure those on the tour were able to see more than just offices were all considered as the team brainstormed how to continue to bring every day public education to the community. 

“The message wasn’t going to change. We had to change the medium to continue to deliver our quality services and engage the community,” Southlake Public Information Officer Brad Uptmore said. “Throughout our planning, my goal was to engage viewers with a Disney World-like ride so that the education aspect stuck and people would continue watching to the very end.” 

The team tested a virtual tour on groups before planning a virtual tour video for social media. Filming took place on two Mondays and included more than 20 people. Editing and finalizing the video took 2-3 weeks. 

“The coordination for completion was complicated. We don’t have a dedicated film crew to put videos like this together,” Fire Prevention Officer Renni Burt said. “It was a team effort and everyone participated to make a great video that was entertaining and educational for children and adults.”  

The final product combined an interactive infomercial with Uptmore’s creative concept of an amusement park ride to create a digital version of a fire station tour that was entertaining enough to keep viewers glued to the video for seven minutes. 

They video was also recognized as one of the reasons the Southlake DPS Facebook page received the Government Social Media’s Facebook Favorite Award. 

“We’re still here and still working for the community. The work Brad and Renni have done to stay connected to our community virtually and continue to promote public education and events has been imperative to making the lives of our residents safer,” Fire Chief Mike Starr said. 

Through our Southlake values of Teamwork and Innovation, Uptmore and Burt delivered a memorable experience for the Southlake community. 

For more information about the Southlake Fire Department, visit: www.CityofSouthlake.com/Fire. 

Take a Virtual Tour of the Bob & Almeady Chisum Jones Exhibit

You know Bob Jones as the name on a Southlake park, road, and the nature center. But who was he?

Bob Jones (1850-1936) and his wife, Almeady Chisum Jones (1857-1949), were born into slavery. They overcame the challenges of inequality to build a prosperous farm and ranch along the Denton-Tarrant county line. They made sure their ten children received an education and took pride in who they were. Their story is drawn from census and other records and the remembrances of generations of family and friends.

Take a moment and watch this virtual tour of the Southlake Historical Society’s exhibit: Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones, A True Story of Resilience Courage and Success.

To see the exhibit in person, you can visit Southlake Town Hall and the Southlake Library , now through September 4. To learn more about the Jones family and to read the exhibit panels in their entirety, visit www.SouthlakeHistory.org.