Alton Fire Department McDonald's commercial
ALTON — If Hollywood calls for any of the Alton firefighters, he’ll have Mayor Brant Walker to thank.
Last August, AFD Chief Bernie Sebold called together a full shift of personnel under the guise of confined space training at Station 2, 3212 College Ave. Much to the men’s surprise, a crew from McDonald’s “Good Morning” promotion breezed in with breakfast for everyone.
“A couple guys were really hamming it up,” says Sebold, although not everyone made the cut. The crew filmed for three hours but viewers will see just 26 seconds.
“It’s amazing how much film it takes to come up with a short commercial,” Sebold says.
The commercial opens with a tweet from Walker via GoodMorningSTL.com. Although the men were genuinely surprised when the crew arrived bearing coffee and sausage and egg McMuffins, the next few hours were spent re-enacting the delivery to the satisfaction of the videographer and representatives of McDonald’s. Scenes include a man in a harness hanging from a tripod, another firefighter sliding down a pole and a shot of one of them receiving a bag of food as he sits in a truck.
Fast forward three months to Monday evening. When an EMS crew responded to a call, they ran into a bystander who told them he’d just seen them on a commercial an hour before.
Sebold said he was surprised the ad had been televised because he was told it would air during hockey games.
“I didn’t even know it had played,” Sebold says. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback. It’s great that McDonald’s honors first responders. Our firefighters certainly are well-deserving and it’s good for the city.”
Walker said he tweeted and sent letters to the McDonald’s Corp. suggesting AFD get picked for the breakfast delivery.
“Why pick Alton? We get 2,000 calls a year and ours is in the top 2 percent of the nation’s fire departments,” Walker says. “All the guys do a lot of work to give back to the community, give CPR classes, hold open houses. I thought they deserved the recognition.”
Walker said when he took office, the department’s ISO rating was 4 out of 10; it’s now 2. ISO is an insurance rating given a city and fire department based on a number of factors, such as how much training is conducted and the distance between fire hydrants.
“It really points out how great our FD is. It’s a feel-good commercial,” Walker says.
The commercial can be seen on channels 2, 5 and 11 and is expected to run through November.
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