Training and Education

Safe Storage "LOK-IT-UP" Public Education Campaign

Project Lead: Luann D'Ambrosio, MEd

To address the safety problem of unsecured firearms in the home, the HIPRC convened a coalition of health, public safety, education, and community organizations to address the problem of easy access to handguns by children and adolescents. The Safe Storage Campaign began in 1997 and continues to promote the safe storage of firearms. This public health effort was modeled after similar efforts to promote seat belts, smoke detectors and bicycle helmets. The Campaign's efforts are targeted at parents of children and adolescents in the hopes of preventing unintentional firearm deaths and injuries to young children and firearm suicides by adolescents. The main message centers on the promotion of a gun lockbox that will provide the owner quick and easy access to the weapon, but prevent it from falling into the hands of children.

LOK-IT-UP has a steering committee of partners committed to developing and disseminating messages that encourage the safe storage of firearms. Partners include the HIPRC, CHRMC, Public Health- Seattle & King County, Snohomish Health District, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the Washington State DOH. LOK-IT-UP partners coordinate to create and distribute compatible and consistent messages about safe firearm storage throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Consistent and repeated messages are critical to changing community standards and norms to promote personal and community responsibility for the safe storage of guns. LOK-IT-UP partners have developed and implemented a number of intervention strategies and are eager to share the successes and experiences with interested communities and parties.

Two trainings were conducted in 2002 on how to deliver safe storage messages to families. The first training was directed toward family practitioners and the second one worked with local health departments. Also in 2002, the Lok-It-Up web site targeting parents, health care providers and the public at large about safe gun storage. The site contains information specific to health care providers and parents, discount coupons for lockboxes, and other resources for safe storage. The web site can be found at www.lokitup.org.

The committee continues to meet every other month. The education focus of 2004 will be to partner with the mental health professionals on delivering the message of the importance of locking up handguns in households.