Community Fire and Burn Prevention

September 10, 2007 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Baltimore

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids at Johns Hopkins has embarked upon a Burn and Fire prevention program through its Parent Safety Leadership Program (PSLG). IFCK Baltimore has designed a fire prevention curriculum to train community residents as PSLG members by providing education; information, resources and skills that enable and empower them to reduce and prevent childhood burn injuries in their neighborhoods. IFCK established an integrative approach as to how fires and burns has been a major issue to children and the Baltimore community. IFCK explore successful interventions and strategies that will be appropriate in local communities. Participants are trained in 10, two-hour sessions over a five-week period that includes field trips to fire stations, the CARES Mobile Safety Center and tours of their neighborhoods to explore fire and burn hazards.

A key component of the training is that program participants will be able to design and complete a community project that addresses burns and fires in their neighborhoods and reach out to others in their communities to raise awareness, promote safe behaviors and create a safe environment for children. This year’s selected community projects by PSLG classes was to go door to door in East Baltimore neighborhoods, in partnership with the Baltimore City Fire Department, to see who needs smoke detectors and batteries. If smoke detectors or batteries were needed, referrals were made to the BCFD for installations. The PSLG has now provided over 1200 referrals to the BCFD and conducts more community fire prevention sweeps in Baltimore City than any other community- base program. The program will be expanding to West Baltimore later this year and early in 2008.

In addition, the PSLG co-sponsored the Baltimore City Fire Safety Summer Camp with the BCFD at Sandy Point State Park. Two hundred and fifty young people, ages 7 to 15, learned about fire prevention at our week long camp. Fire fighters, police officers and program volunteers taught, explained and modeled fire and burn prevention and risk reduction in a fun and sun environment. IFCK Baltimore received funding for the PSLG training program in fire prevention from the Johns Hopkins Burn Center Community Fund and the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center’s Special Project Funding.


Mahseeyahu Ben Selassie, MSW, MPH, ACSW, LCSW