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Straight Talk

Straight Talk was chosen by the United States Fire Administration and its national partners to be highlighted as 1 of only 8 exemplary prevention and intervention programs in the U.S. for the 2012 Arson Awareness Week "Prevent Youth Firesetting": Read More

A family-oriented program targeting youth 8 - 17 who exhibit behaviors associated with the misuse of fire (playing with matches or lighters, using accelerants, firesetting, fireworks, bottle bombs, arson, etc.). It is also for youth who have observed others playing with fire or who are at risk for experimentation. Firefighters, arson police, social workers, an injury prevention nurse, an occupational therapist, lab personnel, and burn survivors teach the medical, social, legal, and financial consequences associated with the misuse of fire. Youth and their families receive interactive education and techniques to promote a safe home environment and prevent injuries. Straight Talk is provided to families free of charge.

Burns and fires are a leading cause of accidental death in the home for children under the age of 14, and approximately 40% of the fires that kill young children are started by children playing with fire. Arson has the highest rate of youth involvement of any crime, with 46% of all arson arrests in the U.S. committed by children under the age of 18. Youth-set fires result in more than 56,000 fires, 900 injuries, 110 deaths, and $300 million in direct property damages per year.

Children do not believe they or anyone else will be injured by a fire they set. They do not think about the fire extending beyond the object they are igniting. Since curiosity is powerful motivation for children, interactive education is a critical component of prevention. Our staff is dedicated to providing the educational experience needed to help deter high-risk behavior. The goal of the program is to reduce the recurrence rate of youth experimentation with fire and flammable substances.

Class Schedule Special Announcement
All classes on Tuesdays

In the event of bad weather, please call 734-232-3815 to receive a recorded message about possible Straight Talk class cancellations.

  • Tuesday, February 4, 2014
  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014
  • Tuesday, June 24, 2014
  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014
  • Tuesday, October 28, 2014
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Straight Talk referral sources

  • Probate Courts-Juvenile Division
  • Fire service agencies
  • Schools
  • Police agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Youth assistance programs
  • Parent referrals

Straight Talk facts

  • Offered by The Trauma Burn Center at no charge to participants
  • Tuesdays, on a bi-monthly basis from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Custodial parent(s) or legal guardian must attend with the child for the entire program. Siblings or other related youth may also attend for education if they are more than 8 years old.
  • Straight talk requires a completed referral from one of the above referral sources

Straight Talk Prevention Education is presented by

  • The University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center
  • Department of Physical Therapy
  • Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Department of Social Work
  • Local fire service agencies

Straight Talk is funded through donations

FRIENDS of the University Hospitals, Bloomfield Township Fire Department, Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive, Ann Arbor Fire Department, and the support of many other community organizations make this free program possible.

Straight Talk referral process

Refer any youth age 8-17 who are at risk for, or exhibit high-risk behavior associated with fire play, fire setting or juvenile arson.

  1. Complete a referral form. Fax it to: 734-232-3833
    Referral Form (PDF)
  2. Complete a Waiver Disclosure form. (This is for referring schools, fire departments, police departments and social service agencies. Parent initiated referrals need not complete.) Fax it to: 734-232-3833
    Disclosure Form (PDF)
  3. Provide each custodial parent or legal guardian with:
    Straight Talk Family Information Forms (PDF).
  4. Parent/legal guardian must call and schedule their child/children into the Straight Talk program within one week of referral submission. To schedule call 734-232-3814.

Following the program:

  1. It is the parent/legal guardian's responsibility to return the Straight Talk Program Certificate of Completion to your agency within one week of attending Straight Talk.
  2. Referring agency will be contacted immediately if youth does not attend the Straight Talk program.

For additional information please contact:



Karla Klas, RN, BSN, CCRP
Straight Talk Program Coordinator
Injury Prevention Education Specialist
Phone: 734-232-3815
E-mail: kahrns@umich.edu

Karla's Bio