249904 Leveraging community stakeholders to prevent recreational injuries in National Parks

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:30 AM

Jennifer Cheng, MPH , Public Risk Management Program, National Park Service, Washington, DC
Sara B. Newman, DrPH, MCP , Risk Management Division, National Park Service, Washington, DC
Jon James , National Capital Region, National Park Service, McLean, VA
The National Park Service consists of 394 parks covering millions of acres of land and waterways that present inherent risks to the millions of annual visitors. Over the last 10 years, NPS reported an annual average of 6,200 unintentional serious injuries and 155 fatalities among visitors in the parks. The leading causes of death include drowning, motor vehicle crashes, fall related injuries, and environmental causes. Because of the complexity of managing the wide range of potential injuries in parks among diverse populations of visitors across multiple jurisdictions, it is not possible to prevent injuries in parks without committed park staff and strong partnerships among local stakeholders to identify key issues and lead major efforts in promoting safety. Using case studies of successful multi-agency collaborations, this session illustrates how partnerships between local businesses, neighboring city and county emergency responders, recreational outfitters, and other stakeholders can improve and standardize safety messaging, share data and resources, and develop multi-faceted injury prevention strategies. George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) is one example of this collaboration. GWMP staff launched a safety task force to educate trail users on how to exercise safety practices, improved trail design and maintenance, and developed safety signs in key areas. This session will demonstrate how one park identified innovative methods for leveraging community stakeholders as well as agency divisional staff and academic experts to utilize risk management strategies to help prevent unintentional recreational injuries in their park, even serving within a mission that is neither focused on safety or public health.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the stakeholders and describe their respective roles in preventing visitor recreational injuries in the National Parks 2. Provide specific examples of successful community group collaborations in preventing injuries in national parks 3. Discuss and brainstorm innovative ideas to help develop a stronger park community and safer environment for the public

Keywords: Injury Prevention, Injury Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee programs that pertain to visitor injury prevention and risk management within the National Park Service.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.