Television News Pioneer Dedicating His Retirement to Educating Children About Fire Safety 

FIRE IS... DVD staring Frank Field and his son, television 
personality Storm Field

For millions of television viewers, Dr. Frank Field has been the face of their nightly weather and science reports. For nearly fifty years, Dr. Field has been one of the most recognizable personalities at the flagship stations of the NBC and CBS networks and for the UPN network in New York, earning a respected reputation and garnering six television Emmy Awards in his career. 


Now in his eighties and splitting his retirement between New Jersey and Florida, Dr. Field has remained active and is showing that there is much more to him than his ability to predict the weather, nor is he allowing age or retirement to slow him down. 


Dr. Field is keeping active using his experience as a health and science journalist to educate the general public and hopefully save lives. In March he kicked off a national fire safety educational campaign that seeks to change the way children and families throughout America think and learn about fire education and prevention. Through his new documentary FIRE IS..., Dr. Field and America’s leading firefighting organizations are seeking to move away from teachings that for too long have focused on techniques like stop, drop and roll and that popularize fire house Dalmatians. 


In the effort, 36,000 copies of FIRE IS… are being distributed free to fire departments across the United States. Fire departments and firefighter unions are asking their firefighters to visit local schools and communities to show the documentary and address fire safety questions. 


Dr. Field spearheaded this project, overcoming huge obstacles along the way with the support of the MetLife Foundation. Recruiting his own children, Alison and Storm Field, also both professional network journalists to the project, the entire Field clan donated their services to the project as a labor of love. And according to a wide range of national fire experts the Fields hit the nail on the head, filling a huge educational void with their campaign. The United States Fire Administration, a division of the Department of Homeland Security says the DVD project is, “Outstanding.” 


America’s First Professional Television Meteorologist: Earning his doctorate in the area of Optometry, and as the first professional meteorologist in the early days of television, Dr. Frank Field pioneered television health and science reporting in the nation. As such he was the first on-air personality trained in the science of meteorology. 


Dr. Field’s career has been highlighted by significant milestones, including situations that have almost gotten him fired. 


Establishing a friendship with Johnny Carson during his time at WNBC-TV, Dr. Field was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show sitting on the hot seat next to his friend and colleague, who came to be known as the “King of Late Night.” Carson use to call Dr. Field the most trusted name on television.


Establishing a friendship with Johnny Carson during his 

time at WNBC-TV, Dr. Field was a frequent guest on the 

Tonight Show. Carson, shown here with sidekick Ed 

McMahon and Dr. Field, use to call the meteorologist the 

most trusted personality on television


When Johnny Carson showed up unannounced in-studio 

to participate in his friend's weather segment during a 

live broadcast on NBC, network higher-ups were aghast.


However, when Carson turned the table on his friend and visited Dr. Field in-studio during the weather segment of a live news broadcast on WNBC, the Doctor was severely reprimanded by NBC higher-ups, due to the serious and poker faced nature of new broadcasts at the time. 


Always a pioneer, Dr. Field has also been credited for broadcasting the first live surgery, a kidney transplant in 1974, as well as bringing much needed attention to new medical technologies such as the pacemaker, organ transplants and dialysis machines. But, besides his weather reports, perhaps what Dr. Field is most remembered for is his advocacy for the work of Dr. Henry Heimlich and the Heimlich maneuver. 


According to recent interview with Television Week, Dr. Field states that the maneuver was first demonstrated on television in 1973. Despite concerns by the medical community and the American Red Cross, Dr. Field was so convinced of the benefits of the procedure, that he made it his personal crusade for it to become an accepted practice. Airing report after report about people whose lives were saved by the Heimlich, the maneuver was accepted and because of his efforts, the Heimlich maneuver is posted in most restaurants throughout the United States.


Dr. Frank Field is credited with broadcasting the first live 

surgery, a kidney transplant in 1974, as well as bringing 

attention to the new medical technologies of the time 

such as the pacemaker, organ transplant and dialysis 

machines. He may be most remembered for his advocacy

 for the work of Dr. Henry Heimlich and the Heimlich 

maneuver, at the time opposing the views of the 

President of the American Medical Association.


At the time, the Heimlich was not recognized by the American Medical Association, which promptly reached out to the president of NBC to have Frank Field pulled off the air for his so-called medically unsanctioned actions. Dr. Field says, “the only thing that prevented the president of NBC from firing me under such intense pressure was a new five year contract that I had recently signed.” 


Focus on Educating Children & Families on Fire Safety: In recent years, Dr. Field’s particular interest in life-saving procedures led him to investigate disturbing trends in fire safety records in major U.S. cities. 


In a series of news reports in the late 1980’s and later a documentary on the same subject, Dr. Field found that as it relates to fire, it was safer to live in a foreign city like Tokyo, than in a major U.S. metropolitan city. Fast forwarding to 2006 and partially as a byproduct of his many news reports, Dr. Field produced FIRE IS… to help teach grandparents, parents and their children the truth about fire. 


The documentary utilizes footage of actual fires, real firefighters and victims, without the use of actors and is comprised of five 20 minute teaching modules entitled: Fire Is Black, Fire is Hot, Fire is Fast, Fire is Smoke & Gas and Fire is Emergency. 


“Those at the greatest risk of fire are seniors and children. Most seniors have been fortunate in never having experienced the frightening impact of fire and grow careless about fire safety in the kitchen or elsewhere in the home. They are now at an age when they have become most vulnerable and when injured suffer greatly,” Dr. Field told American Retiree. 


He added, “Grandparents should make an effort to help their grandchildren become more aware of fire as a danger. Grandchildren are more likely to listen and take heed when a grandparent offers advice. There is a unique bond between the grandparent and the grandchild that leads to greater acceptance of lessons in life.” 


In a casual moment reading to his youngest 

grandson Ray Francis, Age 5


Field recalls the horror and concern when his own granddaughter came home from school to tell him all she had learned at school about fire safety. Her advice to her granddad was, if there is a fire, remember to stop, drop and roll. Some fire officials say stop, drop and roll is as outmoded as the drills American school children were put through in the 1960’s, practicing getting under their desk in case of a nuclear attack. 


“Fire Safety Education for most Americans has been limited to the occasional fire drill in grade school and practicing stop, drop and roll,” he said. “Many schools offer little more than token education, with many having no program in place at all. Sadly, even many parents have not been taught fire safety lessons and are unable to pass along to their children the right and wrong practices in case of a real fire.” 


Through his work on the film Dr. Field has experienced first-hand the devastating effect of fire to people’s lives and homes and fully intends to bring that message to a new generation of viewers. “Few outside of the fire service know that a true fire situation is so dangerous and confusing to a victim that they would not be able to see their hand in front of their face, even at the tip of their nose; Our goal with FIRE IS…will be to provide a greater sense of reality for teaching fire safety and bringing home the message about how dangerous fire is, how to prevent it and be better prepared in case of a fire.” 


According to Philip Schaenman, former Associate Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration and now President of the TriData Corporation, which supplies the government and insurers with analysis on fire damage and fire fatalities, “Public awareness programs such as [Fire Is...] have great potential for further reducing the enormous number of fire causalities suffered by both children and adults.” 


24,000 active and retired New York City firefighters represented by the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, the largest firefighter’s union local in the world, have joined with Dr. Field on the project. In March, the union began distributing thousands of copies of Fire Is...to more than 250 New York City fire houses and to schools throughout the Big Apple. 


“New York City Firefighters risk our lives every day for the safety of others and this DVD can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injury and death to civilians and firefighters alike,” said UFA president Steve Cassidy. “Current methods of teaching fire education to children and families are inadequate and too embedded in a Hollywood portrayal. This educational DVD is far and away the best fire safety education tool available today.” 


After all of the hurdles in getting the project off the drawing board and now after all of the positive reviews, Field looked back at his career and summed it all up, “With 50 years of medical reporting I have learned that you must be willing to stand up for what you believe in. If I hadn’t fought as hard as I did in the 1970’s for Heimlich and other new science discoveries would someone else have filled the void? Most people my age will back me up. If you truly believe in something, you should be willing to fight for it and that is the thinking behind FIRE IS and many of the other innovations I have campaigned for in my career.”





To obtain more information on the FIRE IS…DVD 

call 800-355-7710 or direct email to: FIREIS@EditOnHudson.com

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