Project targets fire safety for children

Friday, September 17, 2010

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has announced a joint project titled "Strengthening the Impact of Fire and Life Safety Messages on Children."

The goal is to determine the best way to communicate fire safety messages to children ages 3-9. Each year approximately 290 children ages 3-9 die as a result of fire in the United States.

This project was made possible by funding from FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, AFG Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.

Through this project, the involved organizations are seeking to increase safety behaviors among children. Children will be asked to observe video vignettes that vary how safety content is communicated and how safety messages are framed. Researchers will evaluate what they learn, which types of messages have the most impact on children, and how their parents react to the program.

The outcomes of this study will contribute to understanding how children and their parents react to safety messages. Despite the fact that injuries are the number one cause of death for children in the U.S., little is currently known about how best to reach them with safety information.

To ensure the outcomes of this study will impact future health education work, a guide for developing educational materials has been developed to help others involved in fire and life safety programs. The guide is available on NFPA's Web site for use by any fire department or other fire safety organization.

We urge parents, care givers, and schools to embrace this project to increase awareness and protection measures to help save children from fires.