Many fire-safety-conscious people in Illinois recognize the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) as the organization that runs the annual Camp “I Am Me,” which is a week-long summer camp for burn-injured children. However, the IFSA offers many more programs, education and support in regard to fire safety and burn prevention.
In the last few years, the IFSA has taken big steps in educating the state’s residents about residential fire sprinklers. In addition to the organization’s membership and involvement with the Illinois Fire Sprinkler Coalition, the IFSA worked with the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board to develop an Illinois-specific residential fire sprinkler education pamphlet. The pamphlet teaches homeowners about the benefits of fire sprinklers and dispels myths.
Please read the submitted article below to see other statewide fire safety an burn prevention programs being offered by the IFSA:
The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization that has been in existence since 1982 and is dedicated to statewide fire safety and burn prevention efforts as well as supporting survivors of burn injuries. The Mount Prospect-based group has a wide variety of materials, tools, and supplies available to organizations across the state to help educate on how to prevent destructive fires, burn injuries, or worse. For those who have been adversely effected by a burn injury, the IFSA hosts various programs throughout the year to help support both children and adults in their recovery.
With a volunteer board of 11 individuals and a full-time staff of three, the IFSA works diligently to produce fire safety and prevention pieces and distribute them throughout Illinois. These materials include informational pamphlets on home fire prevention and safety, bath thermometers to help reduce the chances of a scald injury to infants or the elderly, fact cards and public service announcement videos on the dangers of sparklers, booklets designed specifically for older adult safety, plus other resources to meet the needs of other high-risk groups. In the past six months, the IFSA has introduced three new educational pieces, including “The Benefits of Home Fire Sprinklers” pamphlet, “Fire Safety for People with Disabilities” booklet, and online trivia games for younger children to test their fire safety knowledge. The IFSA works closely with groups such as fire departments, associations, hospitals, schools, and assisted living facilities to help distribute material to their constituents at no cost.
The Illinois Fire Safety Alliance is most well-known for its programs and services which support burn survivors that reside in the state. As a result of fundraising efforts and donations received throughout the year, these programs are available at no cost to the attendees. Camp “I Am Me,” the organization’s signature program, is a special and unforgettable one-week overnight camp experience for children and teenagers who have suffered injuries from burns. Since 1991, the IFSA has been providing this safe, non-judgmental environment for children to have the opportunity to build their self-esteem as they enjoy the various activities that make up their camp experience. The camp is available for those between the ages of 8-16 and on average, hosts 70 campers annually. Nearly 65 volunteers are at camp for the entire week, interacting with the campers and leading activities and special events. Camp “I Am Me” was the first camp (for burn survivors) to become accredited in the United States through the American Camp Association.
The newest support program is the IFSA’s Family Day event, a one-day program for families who have a child that has been affected by a burn injury. In addition to educational presentations, the day allows for both children and adults to meet and network with others who have been through similar situations, all while enjoying family-friendly activities in a fun atmosphere. The program, which was introduced in 2015, is available for survivors between 0-12 years of age and their siblings and parents.
The Young Adult Summit is a three-day retreat developed to prepare and assist attendees for the challenges ahead of them not only as burn survivors, but also as young adults. The summit, which is available to 18-25 year olds, provides life skills and identifies struggles associated with burn injuries through scheduled workshops and activities that support personal growth, emotional healing, relationships, and self-image. The program also allows for a young adult exchange program with the IFSA’s “sister-summit,” a burn survivor foundation located in Burbank, California.
Last is a scholarship program, which allows survivors to participate at World Burn Congress, a four-day international conference hosted by the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, bringing together more than 900 burn survivors, their families, caregivers, and burn care professionals. The IFSA facilitates numerous World Burn Congress scholarships, covering 100 percent of the conference, travel, and lodging costs for the scholarship recipients. The conference provides a forum for encouraging and facilitating the sharing of stories, providing support, and increasing knowledge of burn recovery. Through workshops, speakers, and peer-to-peer dialogue, professionals come to better understand the issues that impact the lives of burn survivors.
To learn how the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance can support fire prevention efforts, as well as to receive more information on burn survivor support services, please visit the newly redesigned IFSA website.