Safe at Home Coordinator Named Service Provider of the Year

Julia Engstrom (right) with Molly Clifford

Congratulations to Julia Engstrom, Safe at Home program coordinator, on receiving the Western NY Developmental Disabilities Service Provider of the Year Award at the 29th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day Conference.

Safe at Home was developed for Prevention 1st by Community Health Strategies, to provide home fire safety and injury prevention curriculum for people with intellectual/ developmental disabilities who are new to independent living. Julia, along with Prevention 1st President Molly Clifford, made a presentation on Safe at Home at the conference, which was held in Niagara Falls.

In addition to her position implementing the Safe at Home program, Julia has worked for 10 years in case management and service coordination for individuals with mental health and developmental disability diagnoses.

Poster Contest Winners Celebrate Fire Prevention


Jaylen Decoste (center front) with classmates who submitted posters from School #42

April has been a month of celebrations for the winners of the 2017 Prevention 1st Home Fire Drill Poster Contest. Winners received a pizza party for their classroom as well as Wal-Mart gift certificates.

The winner in the 3rd and 4th Grade Category was Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grader at School 42, while Honorable Mentions went to his classmate William Cody and to Yahir Zaldivara 3rd grader at School 35. Classrooms at both School 35 and 42 celebrated with a pizza party.



Colin Brunson and Ny’asia Jones at #42 school, with 5th grade teacher Anne Boccardo and Bob Crandall from Prevention 1st.

The winner in the 5th and 6th Grade Category was Colin Brunson, a 5th grader at School 42, with Honorable Mentions going to classmate Ny’asia Jones and 6th grader Alex Rosario.


Firefighter Steve Morgan gives Corey Faison a ride to School #35




Corey Faison,  a third grader from School 35, was the winner of the drawing of all students who submitted a poster for a special prize–a ride to school on a firetruck.

Yahir Zaldivara and his classmates at School 35 dig into their prize pizza party.

2017 Home Fire Drill Poster Contest Winners

Johniel Torres, 2nd grade, School 35
Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grade, School 42
Colin Brunson, 5th grade, School 42










Congratulations to our 9th annual Home Fire Drill Poster Contest Winners! Prevention 1st received nearly 200 entries from students from across the Rochester City School District in three grade categories: K-2, 3-4 and 5-6.  Winners in each category received two $25 Wal-Mart gift certificates, one for the student and one for their classroom. All posters will be displayed in public spaces throughout Rochester including: Rochester City Hall, the Children’s Center at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, Monroe County Office Building, Canandaigua National Bank, Marketplace Mall, The Mall at Greece Ridge, Greater Rochester International Airport (displayed on the TV monitors), and Rochester Museum and Science Center

PosterContest_Juding_2017_4JudgeswPostersThank you to this year’s judges: New York State Senator Joe Robach, Rochester City Schools Commissioner Liz Hallmark, Rochester Fire Marshal Christine Schryver, and the MAG’s Education Director Marlene Hamman-Whitmore

K-2nd Grade Category:
Winner: Johniel Torres, 2nd grade, School 35
Honorable Mention: Elliot Walsh, Kindergarten, School 35
Honorable Mention: Christian Soto, 2nd grade, School 35

3rd and 4th Grade Category:
Winner: Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: William Cody, 4th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Yahir Zaldivar, 3rd grade, School 35

5th and 6th Grade Category:
Winner: Colin Brunson, 5th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Alex Rosario, 6th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Ny’asia Jones, 5th grade, School 42

All participants received a certificate and the chance to win a ride to school in a fire truck, courtesy of the Rochester Fire Department!  The lucky winner of that ride is Corey Faison, a 3rd grader at School 35.

10th Anniversary Celebrates Prevention 1st Supporters

Prevention 1st celebrated its Tenth Anniversary on September 29 by recognizing some special friends who have played a significant role in its success:

harvey-and-steve-2Volunteers Harvey Bunis and Stephen Rogoff conceived of, and created from scratch, the organization’s first major fund raiser–a Golf Tournament held at Midvale Country Club in 2013. They recruited a committee, approached local businesses to donate prizes, and obtained dozens of tee sponsors. Today the Jane and Larry Glazer Memorial Golf Tournament has grown to more than 100 golfers and this year netted more than $20,000 to support Prevention 1st programs.



jack-zacRalph Honda has been a steadfast supporter of Prevention 1st and a corporate sponsor for several major events. Encouraged by Zac Ralph, the company sponsored Red Wings Prevention 1st Awareness Night at Frontier Field, complete with a parade of cars—and what turned out to be one of the most exciting ball games that season! Ralph Honda was also a major sponsor of the Kinky Boots performance benefiting Prevention 1st.




jack-and-jenniferThe Rochester Area Community Foundation and its donor advised funds have helped Prevention 1st launch or expand several important, life-saving programs. A grant from the Community Foundation brought the Peer to Peer Home Safety Training program to three Rochester, NY city schools through Quad A for Kids. Its John F. Wegman Fund grant helped pilot the Stay Safe at Home” peer-to-peer training program for older adults. Prevention 1st is currently delivering a pilot program to develop and evaluation the curriculum for Safe at Home Safety Training for People With Intellectual Disabilities, with the help of a grant from the Foundation’s Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle.



Also as part of the Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Prevention 1st dedicated a Founders Bench in Highland Park, honoring the original founders and first board members of the organization: Robert Crandall; Robert Cole; Jack Dinaburg; Jane Glazer; Carolyn Kourofsky; Frank McGarry; Stewart R. Moscov; and Sharon Stiller.

Teens With Special Needs Get Special Safety Training

When children reach about 14 years of age, most parents feel confident about leaving them home alone for a certain amount of time. For parents of teens with intellectual disabilities, though, that decision is more complicated. Will their child know how to respond if there’s an emergency, get out if the smoke alarm sounds, and call 9-1-1?

Recently Dr. Robert Cole of Community Health Strategies presented a fire safety seminar sponsored by Prevention1st to faculty of the Cooke Center for Learning and Development in New York City. The Cooke Center provides special education services for students ages 5 through 21 with mild-to-moderate cognitive or developmental disabilities and severe language-based learning disabilities. One of the take-aways they have incorporated into their curriculum is the importance of learning and practicing what to do when the smoke alarm goes off.

“Fire safety has always been a topic we’ve covered, but Bob’s seminar really brought out how important it is to have a specific plan if there’s an emergency,” said Virginia Skar, CCC-SLP, Chair of Adaptive Services at Cooke Center. The Center has now integrated exit planning into the journal the school creates as part of parental involvement in educational planning, goal setting, and review of their child’s progress.

Cooke Center also successfully used play safe! be safe!, a fire safety program developed by BIC Corporation for use with young children, as part of the spring semester’s health and safety life skills instruction for their 14- to 18-year-old students.

Play safe! is a wonderful fit for us,” said Skar, who adapted the program to be age-appropriate for high school by modifying some materials, such as replacing images of children with cutouts of adults. “The materials are interactive and sensory-rich. It provides appropriate learning objectives, and techniques are broken down into manageable steps. These are good for teaching anyone!”

Safe Cooking Matters

iStock_000047214164_Family_Cooking (679 x 452)Prevention 1st is partnering with Foodlink, a Rochester-based non-profit that provides food to food pantries across the upstate NY region, to incorporate safety into its cooking and nutrition education programs for families.

With the help of a grant from Wegmans Food Markets, Prevention 1st will develop kitchen and cooking safety curriculum for Foodlink’s “Cooking Matters” program, which empowers families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence to shop smarter, make healthy food choices, and cook tasty and affordable meals. Approximately 500 families participate in the program.

Prevention 1st’s “Safe Cooking Matters” will provide tips on preventing fires and burns while cooking. Nearly 60% of home fires in the City of Rochester start in the kitchen.

Related articles:

Safer Cooking: Frying

Top Safety Concerns For People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking

When is a Child Old Enough to Use the Stove or Oven? (from our expert partner Community Health Strategies)

At Sunshine Camp Training Kids Learn Safety While Having Fun

At Sunshine Camp Training Kids Learn Safety While Having Fun

Through_the_Window_Use-This_One At the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus, children and young adults with disabilities enjoy all the typical summer camp experiences like swimming, archery, nature hikes, and—learning to stay low under smoke? Yes!

This year, campers got interactive hands-on safety sessions with Prevention 1st trainers, practicing essential survival skills using realistic props like doors and windows, thanks to a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester.

Trainers Ken Schultz, Minerva Padilla, Ric Cortez and Bob Crandall presented scenarios and props for the campers to use in creating skits and practicing skills around such topics as kitchen safety and calling 9-1-1. They acted out choosing what items are safe to put into the microwave, how to recognize home hazards, what to do if the smoke alarm goes off including checking the door for heat, keeping low under smoke, escaping through a window, and what to remember to tell the 9-1-1 operator.


Legislation Alone Won’t Keep Us Fire Safe

Headshot_Robert Crandall_croppedEven as New York State legislation moves forward to require long-life batteries in all smoke alarms sold statewide, Prevention 1st vice-president Bob Crandall has drawn on his 30 years of experience in the Rochester Fire Department to point out the continued need for human involvement in fire prevention and safety.

“Technology doesn’t let us humans totally off the hook,” he wrote in a guest column for Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle. “There are things we still need to do to keep our families safe.” He described the need to test and maintain even hard-wired alarms, and plan and practice your escape route.

Read the full Speaking Out piece.

Students Teach Younger Schoolmates to Avoid Injuries and Stay Safe

6thGradersTeachSixth-graders at Rochester City School #17 learned about home safety and practiced their presentation and leadership skills through a recent series of Peer to Peer Home Safety Trainings through a grant to Prevention 1st from the John Wegman Fund of the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

In these workshops, students typically learn about such safety topics as fire and burns, smoke alarms and exit plans, household hazards, kitchen safety, and poison prevention, which they then teach to their schoolmates. For this training, the school’s principal asked for a presentation on one particular aspect of poison prevention–exposure to lead. Two students whose lives had been affected by lead poisoning took on the topic, telling their own stories and teaching schoolmates how to help keep themselves, younger siblings and their families safer. Learn more about lead poisoning prevention in this article by our training partner Community Health Strategies.

John Wegman Fund board members Betty Wells and Susan Touhsaent attended the students’ presentations to second- and third-graders at School #17. Ms. Wells told Prevention 1st:

“I was impressed by both the individuals staffing the program and the young people attending. The adults gave lots of individualized attention but allowed the students to follow their own plans.  Each adult offered a different skill set which helped all students. [The youth] showed an ability to work as teams and come out with a good product in a fairly short period of time. Each power point was so different and had their individual touches.”


Learn more about Prevention 1st‘s Peer to Peer Home Safety Training.