WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) is preparing to launch the No Child Left Alone fire safety and awareness campaign in time for Fire Prevention Week which takes place October 3-9, 2010. The campaign focuses on informing parents and caregivers of children about the perils of leaving children alone at home, as well as providing life-saving information to make their children “fire-safe.” The United States Fire Administration (USFA) awarded a grant to the IABPFF to implement the No Child Left Alone campaign across the country and in cities where there are high African-American and Spanish-speaking populations.
“Many families are being torn apart, because one simple rule is not followed: Never, ever leave children alone at home,” said IABPFF President Joseph Muhammad. He adds, “Leaving young children home alone, even for a few minutes, can have devastating consequences. Any number of things can happen when a child is alone, including their playing with matches, accidentally bumping candles into curtains or even a cooking fire.”
According to USFA’s 2008 report, “Fire Risk to Children in 2004,” 38 percent of all children killed in home fires in the United States were African American. African-American families have a dual struggle with the disproportionate share of fire deaths: African-Americans as a race and African-American children both have a very high risk of fire death. Simple steps like never leaving children alone at home and teaching them what to do when a smoke alarm activates can mean the difference between life and death. Statistics compiled from reports by the USFA and the National Fire Protection Association underscore the significant fire risk posed to African-American and Spanish-speaking children:
- African-Americans face a risk of fire death almost twice that of an individual of another race.
- Spanish-speaking children under the age of 5-years-old comprised an average of 23 percent of all Spanish-speaking people killed in home fires in the United States from 2003 to 2007.
- More than half of all child fire deaths occur to children under 5-years-old. These children are usually unable to escape from a fire by themselves.
- More than half of “child-playing” fires start in a bedroom.
This October, in tandem with Fire Prevention Week, IABPFF members will bring the No Child Left Alone campaign to their own communities. Campaign materials will be available to supplement their outreach efforts. An educational video, brochure and poster will be available to the general public and members of the fire service, free of charge, from the IABPFF. To ensure complete fulfillment of campaign material orders by Fire Prevention Week, members of the fire service should e-mail their orders to Teresa Everett, IABPFF Grant Manager, at [email protected] by September 1st. Orders for campaign materials placed after September 1st will be fulfilled as soon as possible.