The Children after the Fire program coalition and the Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services recently celebrated two milestones.
“This month marks the third year anniversary of the program,” said Lieutenant Scott Dakin, the program coordinator. “Plus this is the first time we have been able to get together and celebrate the program being a finalist in the International Fire Chief’s Association Award for Excellence.”
The Children after the Fire program is the first of its kind in the nation. It was designed to help children in Barrow County that have been affected by a fire. The program works to minimize the traumatic affects a fire can have on a child. The coalition also offers assistance to children that have lost a family member to a traumatic death through the Children after Recent Traumatic Events part of the program.
Every child that enters the program receives fire and/or life safety education from the Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office or the Winder Police Department. The children also receive specialized counseling from The Tree House to help deal with the emotional trauma caused by the event. The counseling is offered to the family at no charge due to donations from citizens and businesses in Barrow County.
The Children after the Fire program officially launched in October 2005 and continues to expand. Some of the program additions that are currently being explored include developing a re-entry program to help children when they return to school and a Family After the Fire portion to teach adults how to assist their child after a traumatic incident. Organizers are also working on a program to help children who have witnessed a large-scale law enforcement incident such as a drug raid.
The Children after the Fire program was a finalist in the International Association of Fire Chiefs Award for Excellence in August this year.
“This international recognition is wonderful and well deserved,” said Lt. Dakin. “This coalition is doing great things for the children of Barrow County and they deserve this award.”
Dakin also thanked Wal-Mart and Bentley’s Home Town Meats and Produce for their support.
For more information on Children after the Fire or to make a donation, contact Lt. Scott Dakin at 770-307-2987.
Several organizations are involved in the Children after the Fire Coalition including Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services, The Tree House, Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, Winder Police Department, Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, Barrow County Schools, Barrow County Family Connections/Communities in Schools and the American Red Cross.