Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and one of the nation’s top employers, has set June 21 and 22 as the dates for Prime Day. The retailer’s annual, unofficial holiday is a retail, media and advertising juggernaut of merchandise discounts and handwringing about Amazon’s impact on local business and the environment.
In the lead up to Prime Day and throughout the holiday, local and national news channels will publish “Best Prime Day deals,” “5 electronic items NOT to buy on Prime Day,” and “How to find the best Prime Day deals.”
What you won’t find, though, are specific Prime Day tips, deals and ideas for police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and corrections officers. To fill that small dent in the wall-to-wall Prime Day coverage, here are 5 ways to leverage Prime Day for your department and community.
1. Boycott Prime Day. Shop local
Shopping online is an opportunity, not an obligation. If you need something for your department, personal kit or home, shop locally. Since all public safety is local, there is immense value in buying from your neighbors and supporting a vibrant local economy that puts people to work, keeps storefronts open and invests profits in your city, town or village. Your community, I hope, has its versions of Frank’s Hardware, Point Area Bicycle Service and Tapped Maple Syrup, three small businesses local to me that I regularly support.
2. If you shop on Amazon, use an AmazonSmile link
As a consumer, your Amazon purchases can support a non-profit organization by using an AmazonSmile link. Any purchases made through a smile.Amazon.com organization link donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the non-profit organization. These charitable organizations accept AmazonSmile donations:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
National EMS Memorial Foundation
Correctional Peace Officers Foundation
Volunteer fire and EMS departments, as well as foundations and auxiliary organizations that support public safety departments, are likely eligible to create an Amazon smile account. Search the AmazonSmile charitable organization directory to find a charity you’d like to support.
3. Create an Amazon wish list
Individuals in your community want to support your department and might purchase things your department needs. Consider creating a wish list for:
Police K9 training aids, reward toys, bedding, treats and food
Officer individual first aid kit items – tourniquets, bandages and gloves
Toys and clothing for children displaced from their home by fire, violence or natural disaster
Personal hygiene supplies with specific items for men, women and children who are experiencing homelessness
Miscellaneous items, like paper goods, office supplies, cleaning supplies and bulk snacks
School supplies, sports equipment or toys for programs that connect public safety personnel to kids in need
Books, study guides and other materials for students and cadets
The Clay Springs Pinedale Fire District has an open wish list that includes department snacks, polo shirts, a corn hole set and Visa gift cards. Items K9 Viktor & Matt are seeking include a heated water bowl, training collar and a booster bath.
Need more ideas? Read how the Horry County (SC) Police Department mobilized its community with an Amazon wish list to create dozens of sensory kits to assist those with sensory sensitivity.
Before creating a wish list, make sure your department can accept in-kind donations.
4. Recommend books and movies
Use a Prime Day social media post, blog article or press release to recommend books and movies that tell the story of public safety. Most people admire the work you do and want to learn more. Share with them our lists of firefighter-themed children's books, police themed children’s books, EMS-themed children’s books, or make your own list.
You could also link to a recent book you’ve read that has inspired you as a leader, improved your skills as a public safety professional or caused you to rethink how to best do your job. Three books I have read recently which have caused me to question assumptions about public safety training, the war on drugs and community interaction are, “Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City” by Rosa Brooks; “Killing Season: A Paramedic's Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Opioid Epidemic,” by Peter Canning; and “The Infinite Game,” by Simon Sinek. What books would you recommend to your community?
The Amazon video shelves are filled with true crime, dramas, thrillers, comedies and documentaries which prominently feature public safety. Your audience might enjoy our podcast on the best cop movies in history or the best cop shows in TV history We also have lists of must-watch prison documentaries, best firefighting movies and EMS movies of all time, or you can make your own list to share.
5. Great gift ideas for personal and community safety
There are millions of gadgets, gizmos and whatchamacallits for sale on Amazon. Instead of another trinket, recommend gifts that can improve personal and community safety. From bike helmets to tourniquets and first aid kits to pool safety alarms and doorbell cameras, you can find it on Amazon.com.
What’s your Prime Day plan? Will you ignore Prime Day to shop local? Is Prime Day the occasion to buy a new HD TV for the station day room or MREs for your bug out bag? What's on your department’s Amazon wish list? Send me a note to discuss Prime Day or the creative ways your department is making up for budget cuts and revenue reductions.