Making an IMPAC-T with Communications

June 6, 2023

In the course of our work, we have the opportunity to learn about many industries. Over time, we become experts on technical aspects of many different businesses and organizations.

It’s particularly interesting when that expertise leads to opportunities to speak about communications more generally. Recently I have had the pleasure of working alongside a team of experts organized by the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, which has been developing a messaging analysis tool for the thousands of career and volunteer fire departments and service organizations across the country.

Dubbed the IMPAC-Tool, this in-depth survey guides users on a path to analyze a draft safety message and refine this message as they consider their audience, media, supporting data, accessibility and much more. IMPAC-T, which stands for Improving Messaging to Promote Action and Change Tool, is in final testing before it is deployed.

During a recent webinar, I spoke with IMPAC-T project manager Ed Comeau, a technical writer and career fire service communicator, about messaging in a very general sense and what considerations we must make to achieve communications goals most effectively. The conversation was quite thought provoking, and it was a pleasure to engage more widely with fire service professionals who work so tirelessly to educate their communities about risk reduction.

For more information about the Alisa Anna Ruch Burn Foundation and the IMPAC-Tool, visit