Camp I Am Me promotes Burn Awareness Week

This year’s theme emphasizes need to prevent flammable liquid burn injuries

In this file photo, YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside once again hosted Camp “I Am Me” the week of June 16 through 20, 2021, marking the 30th year of the camp for young burn survivors. This year's camp runs from June 18 to 24.

MOUNT PROSPECT – National Burn Awareness Week is this week and this year’s theme is “Handle with Care, Flammable Liquids Beware.”

Camp I Am Me by Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, a nonprofit organization 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 prevent fires and burn-related injuries through fire safety education and resources.

Among the awareness campaign’s safety reminders are to never use an accelerant such as gasoline or aerosol sprays to start a fire; fuel snowblowers when engines are cool and do so in an open area outdoors; keep all flammable liquid containers in cool, dry locations and stored away from the home; and be sure when buying a gas can that it has a fuel arrestor on the can to prevent flashback.

The 35-year-old nonprofit hosts a weeklong summer camp for burn survivors ages 8 to 20. It is one of 32 programs financially supported by Camp I Am Me.

“Each year, more than 275,000 people received 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 flammable liquids and scalds,” said Kelly McElligott, Camp I Am Me board president and Loyola Medical burn outreach coordinator. “Whether it’s igniting a campfire, filling a lawn mower with fuel or storing gasoline, safety should always be top of mind.”

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

“Our summer camp and other programs 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. “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.”

Zaleski also praised the organization’s volunteers and donors.

“All that we offer wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of hundreds of passionate volunteers and donors,” he said.

Camp I Am Me encourages the community to be aware of the following safety tips to prevent burn injuries:

• Cooking oils are highly flammable liquids. Keep your eyes on what you fry.

• Fuel snowblowers, lawn mowers and leaf blowers when the engines are cool and in an open area outdoors.

• Never use an accelerant such as gasoline, kerosene or aerosol sprays to start a fire of any kind.

• All flammable liquid containers should be kept in cool, dry locations and stored away from the home.

• When buying a gas can, be sure it has a fuel arrestor on the can to prevent flashback.

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 and in-person support groups and scholarship opportunities. All programs and services are provided at no cost.

Visit to learn more about how to keep safe from flammable liquids and how Camp I Am Me helps burn survivors.

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