Educating Children and Their Families is Focus of Fire Prevention Campaign

Educating Children and Their Families is Focus of Fire Prevention Campaign

Latino children are at high risk for fire fatalities


SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — During Fire Prevention Week, the National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI) has expanded its program Ay Chispas!, a bilingual, culturally grounded, public awareness campaign that highlights fire prevention messages, across the country to convey the importance of fire safety to children and their families.

In a 2004 study conducted by the United States Fire Administration (USFA), over 50 percent of all child fire deaths and fire injuries occur to those under age five. This is significant because according to the United States Census, as of July 2005, 22 percent of the Hispanic population was under the age of five and Latino families had a higher concentration of preschoolers among their population than any other race or ethnic group.

Children playing with fire is the leading cause of child fire fatalities in residential structures. Furthermore, the conditions in which Latino families live (older homes and apartment buildings in urban settings with inadequate electrical wiring, older heating, plumbing and few efforts to modernize for safety) exacerbate the risk for residential fires. Residential fires account for 84 percent of all civilian fire deaths. More importantly and culturally relative, because of long work hours, larger-than-average families and single-parent homes, other siblings and elderly adults frequently have a major responsibility for the care of younger children. USFA concluded that, “these two high risk groups (the very young and elderly adults of all ethnic groups) represent over one-third of all fire deaths.” Markedly, “children in urban areas were left unattended more often than rural or suburban children because they had no other choices.”

“In a country where Latino children have the second-highest poverty rate of any children’s population group, and socioeconomic factors are predictors of fire and fire-related fatalities and injuries due to human actions, this is a particularly vulnerable demographic subset,” said Josie Garza, executive director, NLCI. “Nationwide Insurance’s involvement has helped us reach more Hispanic communities throughout the country and plant the seed through prevention education. Ay Chispas! recognizes the importance of understanding and integrating Latino cultural values, attitudes and behaviors into prevention messages.”

“We are excited to partner with NLCI on the Ay Chispas! initiative. It’s a great way to get the message out on the importance of fire prevention to families,” said Kathryne Reeves, vice president of channel marketing for Nationwide. “Our children are our future and in order to keep them safe we must continue to work together to encourage safe environments at home.”

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The National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI) is a non-profit organization. Incorporated in 1997 in San Antonio, Texas, the institute focuses the nation’s attention on policies, programs, and community initiatives that lead to the full and healthy development of Latino children. It is the only Latino organization with young Latinos as its primary emphasis.

Educating Children and Their Families is Focus of Fire Prevention Campaign