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September 14, 2012 Previous day Next day you plan your Fire Prevention Week activities, do you make an effort to reach those people in your community that are at highest risk of dying in a fire or are hard to reach? This population can include older adults, young children, people in low-income communities, smokers, people with disabilities, and people whose main language is not English.

Several fire departments plan to focus some of their activities on high-risk populations during this year’s Fire Prevention Week. For example, the Chicago Fire Department will hold a three-hour Senior Fire Safety Academy event for older adults, and the Columbus, Ohio, Fire Department will work with the Columbus Community Relations Commission at the Best Neighborhood Practice event. The Columbus Fire Department will hold workshops with the police to showcase not only fire safety but relationship building and the reasons we do what we do. The target audience will include mostly adults from high-risk communities.

The Memphis Fire Department plans to hold open houses at various fire stations in high-risk areas for the entire seven days of Fire Prevention Week and will blitz these neighborhoods with fire safety information.

The Milwaukee Fire Department will work with the Milwaukee Bucks on a poster-to-billboard contest. Students from kindergarten through eighth grade will be asked to draw pictures about fire safety, and the winning drawings will be blown up into a billboards near the winners’ schools during Fire Prevention Week. All the winners will have lunch with the fire chief and go to a Milwaukee Buck basketball game along with their classes. Players from the Bucks will install smoke alarms in target neighborhoods with fire companies.

The Miami Fire Department is partnering with Dominos’ pizza in their fire safety campaign. They will target the neighborhoods near fire stations with the highest incidence of fires; these neighborhoods are primarily low-income, and Creole or Spanish are the primary languages in most.

Edmondton, Alberta, Fire Rescue Services will conduct a fire drill in a senior residence.

NFPA is providing lots of ideas and resources to use in reaching high-risk populations on the Fire Prevention Week site. Click here to learn more.

Phoenix  Society Executive Director speaks following the Walk of Remembrance at World Burn Congress

I spent the last couple of days at one of the most inspirational events, not just for those devoted to fire and life safety, but for anyone. The Phoenix Society’s 24th Annual World Burn Congress continues through tomorrow in Milwaukee, WI. The event brings together more than 800 burn survivors, family members, friends, caregivers and advocates to support and learn from each other and to learn about and promote programs, policies and legislative action that can prevent fires and provide resources to those who have been effected by fire.

The stories are many and varied from a child burned at a campfire and a young lady now in her 20’s who was burned at the age of two in a fire at her home to a woman who was severely burned trying to rescue her child from a fire many years ago to older adults who have devoted their entire lives to being positive role models for other burn survivors. But they share the same reason for attending – to be amongst those with similar struggles and give and or take away lessons to make them stronger. Amy Acton, executive director of the Phoenix Society, herself a burn survivor, opened the conference with the story of how she was injured in an accident 30 years ago. She recounted the journey that brought her to the Phoenix Society and how she benefited from the organizations core activities – peer support, education and advocacy.

I met Amy when NFPA began the Fire Safe Cigarette Coalitionin 2006. The Phoenix Society signed on to help bring the personal stories of the impact of fire to the debate to require cigarette manufacturers to produce and sell only cigarettes that are less likely to cause fires. In just a few years, every state passed such legislation and according to recent NFPA data, we are already seeing a significant decrease in the leading cause of home fire deaths. Those voices made a difference.


Wolrd burn
Faces of Fire advocate Princella Lee Bridges joins a fellow attendee, Jessica Platt at World Burn Congress

When NFPA launched the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, a project to increase home fire sprinkler requirements, we again joined with the Phoenix Society to help tell the stories of the devastating consequences of home fires and how such tragedies can be avoided with the inclusion of home fire sprinklers in new construction. NFPA facts and figures were complimented with the Faces of Fire Campaign, which profiles individuals whose lives have been changed by fire. Some are burn survivors. Others are firefighters, building officials and builders. Many of those “faces” came to us with the assistance of the Phoenix Society. Those voices continue to make a difference.

 The World Burn Congress is a poignant reminder that fire prevention should be top of mind and top of action every day of the year. But with Fire Prevention Week just around the corner there is an opportunity to make sure we are doing everything we can to reduce the number of people who need the services of the Phoenix Society and all the other groups working so hard to help those whose lives have been altered by fire.



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