Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain a brain injury, and 12,000-20,000 sustain a spinal cord injury. In fact, injury is the leading cause of death among children and teens. The most frequent causes of these injuries are motor vehicle crashes, violence, falls, sports and recreation. The good news is that most injuries are preventable!
To help prevent injuries in our area, the Evergreen Park Fire Department has started hosting ThinkFirst programs at local schools. This award-winning National Injury Prevention program educates young people about their personal vulnerability and the importance of making safe choices. The message is: You can have a fun-filled, exciting life, without hurting yourself if you “ThinkFirst.” Buckle up. Drive safely and sober. Avoid violent situations. Lower your risk to fall. Wear a helmet. Check the water before you dive. Use your mind to protect your body!
Little Company of Mary Hospital provided the Evergreen Park Fire Department with home medic supplies and puzzles for the program. During the program, students are able to:
- Go up and down ramps on a wheel-chair
- Use crutches
- Grab objects with their hands tied behind their back
- Put together puzzles while being blindfolded.
The program helps students to see that seemingly simple tasks can become a great burden with a disability. They learn that injuries can cause a life-changing event that can sometimes be avoided by being responsible and thinking first!
Firefighter Ed Dunne is overwhelmed by the thank you letters he received from the students. One child wrote, “I realize now that the choices I make will affect me for life. Being blind, pushing a wheel chair, or even getting dressed with one hand can be frustrating and difficult. Making right choices in life will ensure my safety. I learned to always ThinkFirst.”