Camp I Am Me by Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Highlights Burn Awareness Week

National Burn Awareness Week is February 5-11, and this year's theme is "Hot liquids burn like fire!" Formerly the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, the newly rebranded Camp I Am Me by Illinois Fire Safety Alliance - a nonprofit dedicated to empowering children and adults with severe burn injuries - is highlighting the awareness campaign to support its core mission to empower burn survivors and help to prevent fires and burn-related injuries through fire safety education and resources.

Among the awareness campaign's safety reminders are to always use extreme caution around hot liquids, avoid holding children while carrying them, to open lids of containers with hot liquids away from the body, and to establish a kid-free zone around ovens and microwaves while heating liquids, among other safety tips. For information, visit

The 34-year-old nonprofit hosts a week-long Summer Camp for burn survivors ages eight to 17, which is one of 18 programs financially supported and managed by Camp I Am Me.

"Each year more than 275,000 people receive medical care for treatment of unintentional burn injuries. Many survivors we interact with at our camp and through other support programs have been injured due to hot liquids, steam, and hot bath water," said Jim Kreher, the Camp I Am Me president and fire chief of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. "Whether it's in the kitchen or in the bathroom, always be present when a child is in the area, and if you must leave, take the child with you to ensure their safety."

The camp gives hope to young burn injury survivors, in a safe and non-judgmental environment, which helps to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

"Our Summer Camp and other programs and services support children and adults affected by burn-related injuries, bringing much needed strength and happiness to survivors and their families," said Philip Zaleski, executive director of Camp I Am Me. "All that we offer wouldn't be possible without the dedication of hundreds of passionate volunteers and donors."

Of the recent rebranding, Zaleski said the change in name was made to put a stronger focus on what best describes the organization. "'I Am Me' denotes that no matter what scars are visible on the outside of their bodies, these survivors are still who they are on the inside."

In line with this year's National Burn Awareness theme, Camp I Am Me encourages community members to follow the below safety steps to prevent burn injuries, provided by the American Burn Association:

• Set water heater temperatures no higher than 120°F and test temperatures before bathing.

• Do not leave children unattended in bathtubs or allow them to sit near faucet handles.

• Place pots and pans on back burners with handles turned away from edges.

• Stir, test food in the microwave before serving.

• Use travel mugs with tight-fitting lids for hot drinks; keep hot drinks away from edges of tables and counters.

• Do not allow appliance cords (slow cookers, deep fryers, coffeemakers) to dangle over counters.

In addition to the Summer Camp, Camp I Am Me provides other programs and services for young adult and adult burn injury survivors, including family day events, virtual support groups and scholarship opportunities for current or former camp participants. All programs and services are provided at no cost. Visit to learn more about how to prevent fires and burn injuries, and how Camp I Am Me helps burn survivors.

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