Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Fire Department and The Allstate Foundation Unveil Revitalized Play It Safe Exhibit

December 2, 2009

CHICAGO, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Each year in the United States an estimated 2,800 children age 14 or younger are injured and 850 are killed in residential fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration. To help address this important issue, Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM), the Chicago Fire Department and The Allstate Foundation today unveiled The Allstate Foundation Presents Play It Safe–a new permanent exhibit that encourages children and families to step into the shoes of a firefighter for a day and explore fire safety through imaginative play.

“As we enter the winter months when fires in the home are more frequent, this is the perfect time to unveil the revitalized Play It Safe exhibit,” said Vicky Dinges, assistant vice president, Allstate Insurance Company. “Allstate’s support of Play It Safe brings to life our ongoing commitment to foster safe communities. We’re so proud of this exhibit because it gives children and families realistic, fun, hands-on, playful ways to better understand fire safety and help prevent unnecessary injuries or deaths.”

Inspired by visits to real Chicago firehouses and developed in collaboration with the Chicago Fire Department, the new Play It Safe exhibit features an authentic-looking firehouse where children and families can take calls and dispatch trucks at a command center, dress up like a firefighter, slide down a fire pole, sound the siren in a fire truck and practice escaping a “smoke-filled” room in the “Get Low and Go” bedroom. Through this range of exciting activities, children will learn life-saving lessons about fire safety. The grand reopening of the 2010 Play It Safe exhibit is Thursday, December 3rd, at 9 a.m.

“Studies show that children learn and retain information better through exploration and imaginative play–and the newly renovated Play It Safe exhibit addresses the serious issue of fire safety in a playful, educational setting,” said Jennifer Farrington, President and CEO, Chicago Children’s Museum. “At CCM, we’re committed to providing valuable experiences that tackle tough issues.”

During the development stages of the new Play It Safe exhibit, Chicago Children’s Museum utilized extensive research and best practices in child development, informal learning, and safety education to ensure that the exhibit provides age-appropriate experiences for children to explore fire safety and incorporates resources to help parents, caregivers and children explore fire safety beyond the museum visit. The Chicago Fire Department also provided a critical role by not only providing actual firehouse artifacts, input on design and key messaging, but also training Chicago Children’s Museum staff and program facilitators on how to best teach and communicate critical fire safety techniques.

“We hope that through our support of the exhibit, we’ll be able to provide kids and adults with important fire safety messages and techniques that they can practice at home,” said Chicago Fire Commissioner John Brooks. “Over the last decade our partnership has brought home the crucial safety messages children need to learn, and will carry with them the rest of their lives.”

According to recent data from the National Fire Protection Association (2008), 83 percent of all civilian fire fatalities occur within the home. With an estimated 2.5 million children, parents, caregivers and children visiting the exhibit since its inception seven years ago, Play It Safe will continue to have an impact well beyond the walls of the museum. A Survive Alive Safe Exit program offered throughout the year will give families a unique opportunity to practice how to escape their home in an emergency using multisensory effects to simulate a real fire. A free take-home caregiver guide will also offer additional tips on ways families can practice fire safety tips at home.

The newly renovated Play It Safe exhibit is a result of a ground-breaking partnership between Allstate, the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Children’s Museum, and will continue as a permanent exhibit daily, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and on Kraft Free Family Nights — Thursday evenings from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (free admission for all visitors).

About Chicago Children’s Museum

The mission of Chicago Children’s Museum is to create a community where play and learning connect. CCM is the only cultural institution in the city dedicated to young children and the important adults in their lives. Playful experiences, including over fifteen interactive exhibits and programming spaces, tap into how kids learn, and engage them at an early age so they develop a lifelong love of learning. Located at Navy Pier, Chicago’s number one attraction at 700 East Grand Avenue, CCM is the final stop for CTA buses #29, #65, #66 and #124. For more information, please visit www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/hours.html.

About The Allstate Foundation

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Allstate and The Allstate Foundation sponsor community initiatives to promote “safe and vital communities;” “tolerance, inclusion, and diversity;” and “economic empowerment.” The Allstate Foundation believes in the financial potential of every individual and in helping America’s families achieve their American dream. For additional information, visit www.Allstate.com/foundation.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company

Source: newswire

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