Gun safety initiative

Several local agencies have partnered together to launch a gun safety initiative and promote firearms safety. From left, Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer, McKean County district attorney, and Tyler Hannah and Tom Ball, members of the CARE for Children board of directors, are shown with the universal gun locks that will be distributed to local law enforcement agencies in McKean County and through CARE’s Home Safety Program for families in need.

An accidental child shooting that occurred last year in McKean County prompted several local organizations to collaborate, including the McKean County Office of the District Attorney, the McKean Department of Human Services and Safe Kids Pennsylvania- McKean County Partner, and with funding from the United Way of the Bradford Area, Inc., to provide cable-style gun-locking devices to families as needed throughout McKean County.

“Receiving a call that a child has been shot is the worst call I have ever received,” said Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer, McKean County district attorney. “Unfortunately, I’ve received that call more than once. In a neighboring county, a child lost his life recently due to an accidental shooting. I cannot imagine the pain a family suffers when a child’s life is lost. Thank you to area agencies for making locking devices available. You will never know the number of young lives saved.”

The Safe Kids Pennsylvania McKean County Partnership plans to provide local law enforcement agencies with universal gun locks to distribute or use at events. In addition to the locks, the partnership is providing handouts with helpful fire arm safety tips for parents and age-appropriate gun safety activity booklets geared for school-age children.

CARE for Children, the lead agency for Safe Kids McKean, also has a supply to distribute through the organization’s Home Safety Program which gives out childproofing items, smoke detectors and other safety items to local families in need.

“Since 2006, the Safe Kids McKean Partnership and CARE for Children have worked to establish programs and promote initiatives that prevent accidental childhood injuries, disabilities or fatalities,” said Tina M. Martin, CARE executive director and Safe Kids coordinator.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our partners to get these live-saving devices into the hands of families who need them.”

The gun locks were purchased from a vendor that works with Project ChildSafe, a program that promotes firearms safety and education through Law Enforcement Organizations.

The McKean County Safe Kids Program, along with its partners, is committed to promoting firearms safety, raising awareness about the safe and responsible ownership of firearms and the importance of storing firearms securely when not in use to keep children safe and help prevent accidents, theft and misuse.

CARE for Children is a non-profit organization which provides child safety and injury prevention initiatives through its leadership of the Safe Kids Pennsylvania McKean County Partnership. The partnership aims to promote the prevention of accidental child injuries through education, collaboration and advocacy. Additional programs offered include Cribs for Kids, Kindergarten Bike Helmet Safety Program, Child Passenger Seat Checks, and a variety of safety initiatives including poison prevention, fire safety, water safety, pedestrian safety, preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome, youth sports safety, pet safety and summer safety.

For more information visit www.careforchildren.info//child-safety/ or contact lead agency CARE for Children at 814-362-4621.

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