Grassroots campaign promotes fire safety

Safe at Home — Preventing Fires in Mississippi is about life or death. Every year, the devastation caused by residential fires hits Mississippi particularly hard. In fact, according to most reports, Mississippi has the highest average rate of fire deaths. And the problem persists. Headlines throughout 2007 have told the all-too-familiar stories of lives lost and homes destroyed.

 High rates of poverty, illiteracy, and smoking — combined with a largely rural population — create fire risks and barriers to fire prevention in the state. Additional challenges are created by continued racial, economic, and geographical divisions.

 Many Mississippians are unaware of the fire danger risks posed by their daily activities. Cooking, for example, is the No. 1 cause of home fires. Many families in Mississippi lack central heating, and it is not uncommon for them to rely on space or electric heaters, ovens, and stoves to stay warm. Careless smoking and the use of space and electric heaters are also leading causes of fire deaths in the state.

Safe at Home — Preventing Fires in Mississippi is a personalized, homegrown campaign to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries in Mississippi. From the Gulf Coast to the Delta, Mississippi’s people and traditions vary greatly. This effort is designed to reach each community and each person with important messages and resources to improve fire safety. Every piece of this campaign will be designed to save lives.

 This grassroots campaign will rely heavily on person-to-person outreach, directly seeking to make life-saving changes in communities. To aid in this effort, a Mississippi-based team will:

• Engage key community leaders throughout the state

• Mobilize a statewide advisory board made up of fire safety officials, educators, and other community leaders from all across Mississippi

• Use advertising, outreach to news media, and online tools to get important messages about fire safety out to the people of Mississippi

 Over the next several months, members of the Safe at Home — Preventing Fires in Mississippi team will be in communities throughout the state conducting outreach, distributing materials, and educating citizens on how they can better protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors against fire dangers.

 You can play an active role in spreading the word about fire prevention in Mississippi bydistributing Safe at Home materials in your community.  

• Fact sheets and other printable materials are available for free download at
www.safeathome-ms.org.  

• You can also contact the campaign to receive other materials not available on the Web site, such as pins, magnets, and stickers.

We hope you will be a part of this important Mississippi movement. To do so, please contact us at [email protected] or toll free at (888)-MS-FIRE1.

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