The Greater Concord Safe Community Coalition is a group of individuals, organizations, businesses, municipal, state and other agencies that collaborate to serve as a resource for injury prevention in the Greater Concord area. We utilize the Safe Community prevention model as our framework to reduce injury risk and promote community health.
The Greater Concord Safe Community Coalition was originally formed in 2000 as an evolution of injury prevention efforts spearheaded by Concord Hospital Emergency Department nurses. Several community health needs assessments had been performed in 1998 and 2003 that demonstrated the need for injury prevention in the community. Key stakeholders were pulled together with support of the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency and, using the NHTSA model, we applied for Safe Community status and funding.
The coalition’s efforts were and continue to be based mostly in Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, a city of approximately 40,000. The coalition originally had a grant funded program coordinator and program assistant for the first three years then the coordinator role was supported by the former lead agency, Concord Hospital. In June of 2008 the hospital relinquished the lead role to the Safety and Health Council of Northern New England. Due to tough economic times the program coordinator role has been unfunded yet the coalition still exists through the support and determination of dedicated program partners. In addition to the Safety and Health Council, current partners include representatives from New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency, Concord Police, Concord Fire Department, school district transportation, SAFE KIDS NH, NH DOT, Concord Substance Abuse Coalition, Concord 20/20, Concord Hospital, a NH Legislator, City Councilors and community activists. Extended partnerships have evolved throughout the school system and city due to our extensive work with youth pedestrian safety.
With the help of our enforcement partners and SAFE KIDS NH, work began to identify speeding in school zones as a priority and targeted speed enforcement was started on Loudon Road. At the time there was no coordinated school zone enforcement and the focus on pedestrian safety was not as prevalent as it is today. Over the years we embraced the SAFE KIDS WALK THIS WAY efforts which evolved into more coordinated Safe Routes to School Projects. Schools cooperated by taking part in walkability surveys/audits. Efforts directed at improved crosswalks, enhanced pedestrian/school zone traffic signals and school zone enforcement were increased. Preferred walking routes and pedestrian safety informational brochures were created for participating schools. Partnerships developed that had never existed before between the hospital, schools, city, municipal and state officials.
A major success for our coalition was being awarded one of New Hampshire’s first Safe Routes to School grants. Highlights of the grant included infrastructure funds to install walkways that divert pedestrians from school entrances and exits and also provided bike racks and bike education to the community’s only middle school and an adjacent elementary school. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in October of 2009 to christen the campus’ new walkway system. Safe Routes to School proved to be a brilliant strategy that brings families and community leaders together to impact traffic safety, health, and the environment.
For more information on the Greater Concord Safe Communities Coalition, contact David Henderson or Debra Samaha.
GREATER CONCORD SAFE COMMUNITIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
David Henderson - Coalition Coordinator
National Safety Council of Northern New England Executive Director
Debra Samaha - Coalition Alternate Coordinator
Program Manager, Injury Prevention Center, Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Suicide Prevention Program Manager Advisor for NH Army National Guard
Traffic Safety Advocate
Master Police Officer Ryan Howe
Concord Police Department
GREATER CONCORD SAFE COMMUNITIES COALITION