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September 28, 2001

Organizations Receive Funding to Reduce Gun-Related Injuries

For Michigan's Children; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Funds Programs Across the State


(SafetyAlerts) -  They're "Locking 'Em Up For Kids' Sake" in Lake, Mason and Oceana Counties. All across Michigan, community groups are taking aim at protecting their children from gun injuries, with the help of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

The Foundation has granted more than $100,000 to help organizations statewide implement programs to reduce gun-related childhood injuries in Michigan. According to Ira Strumwasser, Ph.D., executive director and CEO of the BCBSM Foundation, the purpose of the Gun Safety Initiative is to fund and evaluate the effectiveness of different programs in reducing accidental gun injuries to Michigan children.

"Every year, hundreds of Michigan children are accidentally injured, killed or commit suicide because a gun is stored in their home either loaded or with the ammunition stored nearby," said Strumwasser.

Funding recipients include:

* By Our Bootstraps in Ypsilanti: "Guns Ain't Fun" Youth Gun Prevention Program

* District Health Department #10 in Lake, Mason and Oceana Counties: "Lock 'Em Up For Kids' Sake

* Hurley Medical Center: "Prevention of Gun Injuries in Genesee County Children"

* Emergency Nurses CARE and Mount Clemens General Hospital: "Unintentional Gun Injury Prevention Program"

* Wayne State University's College of Urban, Labor & Metropolitan Affairs: "Mapping Out a Safer Community for Kids"

The programs' methods and goals vary.

The College of Urban, Labor & Metropolitan Affairs' goal is to identify specific high-risk places, times and groups in Wayne County that represent the populations most in need of interventions. Using Internet and geographic information systems technologies, they will analyze existing Wayne County data on gun violence and make this information accessible to organizations that are working to reduce gun violence. Their partners include the City of Detroit Public Health Department and Wayne County Executive Office.

In Genesee County, the Hurley Medical Center's training program for physicians will enable them to disseminate gun safety information during routine pediatric visits to approximately 20,000 families.

By Our Bootstraps will partner with the Cathedral of Deliverance church to conduct "Guns Ain't Fun," free after-school gun safety classes for parents and children based on safety curricula developed by various national organizations.

Emergency Nurses CARE and Mount Clemens General Hospital's efforts will focus on distributing free gun locks and safety tips, broadcasting a gun safety video on local cable channels and developing a school-based gun safety educational program for the 2002 school year. Their partners include eight police departments.

District Health Department #10's "Lock 'Em Up For Kids' Sake" program will also focus on providing free gun locks for the more than 1,000 new guns registered annually in Lake, Mason and Oceana Counties and will also disseminate firearm safety information through school and other community events. Their partners include local county sheriff's departments.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is funding work in Michigan communities to help reduce gun-related childhood fatalities, including suicides, and accidental shootings because (according to the Children's Defense Fund):

* Homicide is the third leading cause of death among children age five to 4.

* In homes with children and firearms, 43 percent had at least one unlocked firearm.

* More than 4.7 million homes with more than 8.3 million children store firearms unlocked.

* More than 900,000 homes store firearms unlocked and loaded.

* Approximately 425,000 homes store firearms unlocked, unloaded, but with ammunition nearby.

Source: PRNewswire.

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