'APRIL POOLS DAY' SURPRISE: Burleson drowning PSA tops 700,000
BURLESON – More than 700,000 hits over the Internet can’t be wrong.
That’s the ongoing Internet count of the “April Pools Day” public service announcement on drowning from the Burleson Fire Department. Since it was released March 25, the dramatic Public Service Announcement (PSA) has attracted more than 700,000 hits and 300,000 full views.
The PSA, shot at the Burleson home of a Crowley firefighter, revolves around the effort of firefighters to save the life of a young boy who has unresponsive following a near-drowning.
“The firemen on the truck arrive and start working on the child,” explained Collin Gregory, Burleson communications coordinator. “The fire captain pulls the parents aside and tries to get as much information from them as he can. At points, the firefighters have to physically restrain the parents from the child simply because they have no idea what they are doing – no clue how to react.”
Burleson Fire Chief Ken Freeman made a presentation about the PSA to the Burleson City Council Monday evening. He said the clip has been shared over the Internet at least 4,400 times.
Freeman said responses to the PSA were posted by firefighters from across the country, concerned parents who have lost children to drowning, and people simply enthralled by the intensity.
“We are seeing these numbers grow exponentially,” the fire chief said. “The comments we are getting (about the PSA) speak volumes. …There is so much support and interest in trying to mitigate any future drownings.”
Freeman credited both Gregory and DeAnna Phillips, the city’s marketing and communications director, for their hard work making the project into reality.
Gregory said Burleson Fire Captain Josh Jacobs was first to contact the city about creating this video.
The PSA is described as an “astonishing two minutes and 45 seconds of sobering drama.”
Burleson Firefighters did their own acting. Those involved included Captain Jeremiah Lozier and Firefighters David Franks, Matt Stanton and Brandon Jacobs. The parents were played by Burleson Fire Engineer Matt Mosley and his wife Amanda, and the boy was played by the Mosleys’ 4-year-old son, Townes.
Young Townes was the only actor in the production to get paid, Gregory said.
“We were a little nervous about having a child because they can be unpredictable,” he said. “But his parents made a deal with him: act like you’re asleep during the production and you’ll get a Lego set out of the deal.”
The piece is so engaging, that many watching it might find themselves rooting for the child and hoping he will wake up and be all right, officials said.
“That would be a great ending, but unfortunately it would not be realistic,” Gregory said.
Why does the video keep getting clicks? One appeal of the PSA is its universality, Gregory said.
“We took pains to make this production as generic as possible,” Gregory said. “We wanted it to be so anyone could look at it and not know where it was.”
It was important to Burleson officials to put together a PSA about drowning from the point of view of the city’s first responders. So city officials took notes.
Step by step, they documented and identified the action and emotions involved in a drowning situation – and the toll it takes on firefighters and the families of each victim.
“When we talked with them, we really wanted to know what the fire fighters would feel in this situation,” Gregory said. “We walked through all the steps they took in these situations. Our firefighters are the calm in the storm. This is so much different from the movies and film.”