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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 465 children ages 0-14 die due to unintentional fire or burn related injury each year in the United States. A Berks County organization is working to keep families from becoming part of that statistic.
Safe Kids Berks County Inc. is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the national Safe Kids organization. Safe Kids is dedicated to preventing unintentional injury to children ages birth to 14. Since 1996, they’ve educated Berks County families through school programs and public events covering various safety topics, including burn prevention.
With the help of the Russell L. Hiller Charitable Trust of Berks County Community Foundation, Safe Kids Berks County, Inc. purchased an inflatable Fire Safety House produced by the Boulder Blimp Company of Lafayette, Colorado.
The Russell L. Hiller Charitable Trust was established by Federal Bankruptcy Judge Russell L. Hiller, who lived in Shillington for 60 years. The trust supports scholarships for Governor Mifflin School District students, the Shillington Borough park and pool, the Mifflin Community Library, Albright College, and other organizations in the area served by the Governor Mifflin School District.
The inflatable house helps teach kids how to escape a burning building and avoid burn injury and death.
“Safe Kids strongly believes that you have to protect the innocent who cannot yet protect themselves,” said Cheryl Gouker, vice chair of Safe Kids Berks County, Inc. “Children are curious about their world, and by coaching children properly ahead of time they may have a better chance of surviving.”
From 1997 to 2008 Safe Kids used a larger, towable house in burn prevention efforts, but that house was taken out of commission due to its unsafe condition.
Members of Safe Kids received training on how to use the house from the Hazleton Fire Company, which uses the same inflatable fire safety house and reports great success in preventing childhood burn injury and death. Safe Kids plans to reach out to Berks County schools this fall to set up training for students.
To learn more about Safe Kids, visit: http://www.pasafekids.org/affiliates.php.
Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at www.bccf.org.