Sept. 12, 2023
Pensacola Fire Department and Escambia County Healthy Start Partnership Promotes Safe Infant Sleep
The Pensacola Fire Department and Escambia County Healthy Start are partnering to educate local families about unsafe infant sleep environments, with a goal of reducing infant sleep mortality in the Pensacola community.
PFD will be the first fire department in Northwest Florida to receive training through the Direct On Scene Education safe sleep program, which trains first responders to identify unsafe sleep environments while responding to emergency and non-emergency calls.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our first responders to make a tangible impact in the community,” Fire Chief Ginny Cranor said. “Our hope is that this training will help prevent an unsafe sleep environment from becoming a tragic 911 call, through proactive education and community outreach.”
The award-winning South Florida-based program will train Pensacola firefighters to educate families on safe sleep and complete voluntary environmental checks to assess sleep space hazards. If an unsafe sleep environment is identified, a pack-and-play infant alternative sleeping arrangement will be provided at no cost to the family. In addition to providing education and infant sleep solutions, first responders will also be able to refer families to Healthy Start for supplemental resources and services.
The Importance of DOSE
- In 2021, 30% of all infant deaths in Escambia County were related to an unsafe sleep environment.
- 90% of the deaths were not in a crib or bassinet.
- 70% Seventy percent of the deaths occurred while sleeping with other people.
DOSE representatives will provide training to PFD personnel from Tuesday, Sept. 12 to Thursday, Sept. 14. Once the training has been completed, crews will begin keeping safe sleep educational materials in PFD vehicles to distribute to families when responding to calls.
"Healthy Start is appreciative of Chief Cranor's support for this project and is proud to partner with the Pensacola Fire Department in our shared quest to reduce infant mortality in our community," Healthy Start Executive Director Allyson Anderson said. "Each life saved represents a spared tragedy and an unspeakable loss for our families."
Healthy Start Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of pregnant women and babies. The organization has been assessing infant sleep-related deaths since 2014.
For more information on Healthy Start, visit the Escambia County Healthy Start website.