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Nonprofit Home Safety Council Earns $1 Million Federal Grant to Help Local Fire and Life Safety Educators Prepare Communities for Fire and Disaster

The nonprofit Home Safety Council (HSC) has been awarded a 2006 Fire Prevention and Safety grant in the amount of $1 million. This generous federal funding will be used by HSC to continue its work to broaden and deepen the network of support for U.S. fire and life safety educators, particularly through local fire departments.

"We are grateful that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate has entrusted the Home Safety Council with this funding, which will be channeled into valuable tools and training that can be readily used by fire department educators across the country," says Home Safety Council President Meri-K Appy. "This federal investment will directly benefit local fire and life safety education efforts, ultimately improving the safety of America's communities."

HSC's funded national plan will put proven fire safety and disaster preparedness teaching tools in the hands of fire service and classroom educators; provide safety educators with free access to Web-based professional development opportunities; and offer intensive training for high-risk target audiences in three states with exceptionally high fire-death rates.

During the grant year, HSC will distribute its popular Get Ready with Freddie! disaster preparedness educational materials to third and fourth grade teachers in the nation's 65,000 elementary schools and their local fire departments, reaching 13 million teachers, students and their families. A national "Kids Prepare America" contest will be conducted to showcase how students are driving family preparedness efforts at home, helping to increase their community's safety.

HSC will also host a minimum of 10 free Webinars (virtual seminars, broadcast over the Internet) aimed at members of the Home Safety Council Expert Network, an online resource serving more than 5,000 fire and life safety educators. These Webinars will introduce participants to a range of proven home injury prevention and disaster preparedness teaching methods and tools and will feature a variety of national safety education experts.

Finally, the Home Safety Council will undertake a pilot implementation of state team-training workshops – expanding the distribution of the Home Safety Literacy Project and pairing fire service and literacy providers in three high fire-death-rate states. The goal is to create a state-level support system that will provide tools and guidance for conducting in-service training and technical assistance to local teams. This will enable fire departments and literacy providers, working together, to deliver specially-designed safety lessons to those in their communities who may otherwise miss the message -- adults with low-level reading skills.

"The Home Safety Council is eager to enhance our support of fire department safety educators," Appy adds. "This national plan will help any fire department, large or small, expand its public fire safety education outreach and include key disaster preparedness messages – with minimal impact on budget or staffing resources."

To learn more about these programs, visit the Home Safety Council Expert Network at www.homesafetycouncil.org/ExpertNetwork. Membership in the Expert Network is free to U.S. fire department educators.

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