Chelsea Fire to begin child safety program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Chelsea Fire & Rescue is looking to reduce simple, preventable injuries in area children.

Fire chief Wayne Shirley said these injuries are the No. 1 health risk for children under age 14; yet according to the National Fire Protection Association, parents and caregivers often view these hazards as &uot;growing up.&uot;

To reduce those risks in Chelsea, the Alabama Fire College has awarded Chelsea and 19 other communities with the Risk Watch community grant.

Risk Watch is a national childhood injury prevention program designed for use in prekindergarten through eighth grade classrooms.

The program gives children and their families the information and support they need to make positive, health-promoting choices about their personal well-being.

Risk Watch targets the eight leading causes of injury for children: motor vehicle crashes; fires and burns; choking, suffocation and strangulation; poisoning; falls; unintentional firearms incidents; bike and pedestrian hazards; and water hazards. The curriculum makes the children active participants.

&uot;Risk Watch not only communicates good, basic safety information in a way that’s interesting to children and their families; but it also promotes partnerships among local, state and national agencies who provide resources and support for many of the Risk Watch safety lessons,&uot; Shirley said.

The program will be used in Chelsea Elementary School.

CES principal Dr. Lynn Cook said: &uot;Our goal is to establish Risk Watch as a benchmark for safety education in Chelsea so that our children and families can make wiser choices and prevent needless tragedies.&uot;

Chief Shirley has also been working with Mike Burns, Chelsea Middle School principal, and hopes to have the program there in the future as well.

&uot;We receive great support from our schools in Chelsea, and I appreciate their willingness to work with us on programs such as Risk Watch,&uot; Shirley said.

In addition to the Risk Watch program, Chelsea Fire & Rescue is participating in a high-risk community outreach smoke detector program as well as implementing the senior fire and falls prevention program, Remembering When.

– Candace Parke