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0021 A collaborative approach to home safety fire prevention: public health, community leadership and technical expertise working together
  1. Brandi Chawaga,
  2. Dawn Batman,
  3. Pat Fallon
  1. Montgomery County Health Department, Norristown, PA, USA


Statement of purpose To collaborate with safety officials to reduce the risk of injury and death associated with fire in the home. This project aims to:

  1. Decrease the number of fire related calls due to lack of working safety equipment.

  2. Increase awareness of the importance of routine monitoring of installed home safety equipment.

  3. Provide seasonally appropriate home safety education that is applicable to the community at large.

Methods/Approach MCHD collaborated with the Norristown Fire Department (NFD) and the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) to provide targeted home safety outreach “blitzes” within the Norristown community. Neighbourhoods were selected based on review of the volume of calls due to faulty home safety monitoring devices or where a significant fire event occurred. Going door to door, MCHD provided home safety devices to homes in need along with general home safety materials and education. The firemen installed new alarms as necessary. If wiring was noted as an issue, the EWMC made a sight visit to rectify the problem.

Results Between 2011 and 2014, over 600 households in 25 neighbourhoods considered high risk for a fire event were checked using the described team approach. The safety team distributed and installed 186 home safety devices and educated just over 1,000 residents.

Conclusions Conducting safety outreach through collaborative efforts that incorporate technical expertise, a trusting community leader combined with a public health approach provided the opportunity to leverage resources and ensure safety measures were in place to reduce the preventable risk of fire related injuries and fatalities.

Significance and contribution to the field The Norristown Municipal Council issued a formal proclamation recognising the partnership and its efforts to make Norristown a safer place to live. Additional Fire Departments have formed safety outreach teams that include a public health community approach and have secured local funding for appropriate and necessary home safety equipment.

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