DELEG’s Bureau of Fire Services kicks off training

— Fire professionals from around the state are gathered today at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing to learn more about rolling out Risk Watch®, a nationwide safety awareness and education program, in schools within their communities.

The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth’s Bureau of Fire Services and State Farm Insurance have partnered to provide the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) Risk Watch® program to 18 fire departments across Michigan who will be sharing safety lessons with more than 89,000 Michigan children. The two-day training concludes Tuesday.

“Risk Watch® is an important program because preventable injuries are the number one health risk to children 14 and younger,” said Michigan State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr. According to the NFPA, unintentional injuries kill more than 5,000 children annually.

State Farm provided a $10,000 grant to bring the program to the state that will give children and their families the skills and knowledge they need to create safer homes and communities.

Risk Watch® is the first comprehensive injury prevention program available for use in schools and the first time it will be shared with Michigan schoolchildren. The costeffective, school-based curriculum for students in preschool through the eighth grade, links teachers with community safety experts and parents. The Bureau of Fire Services is using the grant to roll out training between fire and emergency personnel and educators.

“We’re really proud we can impact so many kids and families in a positive way by providing the means to bring awareness and education to so many preventable safety issues,” said State Farm Vice President- Operations Dianne Lerman.

Risk Watch® lessons are age-appropriate learning modules that are presented to students in about an hour a month and cover eight injury risk areas: motor vehicle safety, fire and burn prevention, choking, suffocation and strangulation prevention, poisoning prevention, falls prevention, firearms injury prevention, bike and pedestrian safety, and water safety. Risk Watch® complements different learning styles and can consist of role-playing, games, demonstrations, storytelling, and letters to parents (to enable parents and caregivers to improve safety at home).

Training participants will learn more about forming coalitions between parents, teachers and community partners, implementing Risk Watch® in schools, conducting teacher workshops, and evaluating the overall effectiveness of the program. — G.G.

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