Phoenix Society serves burn survivors, loved ones, burn-care professionals, researchers and anyone else committed to empowering the burn community and building a safer world.
Survivors helping survivors
Our seeds were planted when Alan Breslau, a burn survivor of a 1963 airplane crash, visited a young boy in a burn centre shortly after his accident. There, he recognized the transformative power of peer support. Phoenix Society is now the leading connector for those affected by a burn injury, the primary resource for quality information and education, and the trusted authority for all in the burn community.
‘Over the years Alan’s vision and the work of Phoenix Society, our staff, volunteers and donors have come together to make it possible to connect with someone who has walked this road before. Having a community of support and the resources that make the path to getting back to life easier is life-changing. Survivors around the world no longer live in isolation because they can experience the support of human connection and healing resources anytime, anywhere,’ says Amy Acton, CEO of Phoenix Society
While working a job the summer before college, Amy Acton suffered an electrical burn injury. Acton’s accident was preventable, which fed her long-term passion for burn care and fire prevention. She went on to serve as a burn nurse prior to being named the Executive Director and CEO of Phoenix Society in 1998 and has helped refine the organization’s mission, build strong partnerships, and expand the reach of the organization’s programmes.
One of the most utilized Phoenix programmes is Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery). The programme offers one-on-one hospital-based peer support that connects survivors with others who have faced similar trauma. Phoenix SOAR has become a burn-care standard that has been adopted by 70+ hospitals with a network of over 1,000 trained supporters.
Our work cannot be done alone
Phoenix Society is proud to partner with many organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making a difference and advocate for effective burn prevention, burn care and equality.
Phoenix Society has been close partners with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for over 20 years, and Acton serves as the Chair on their Board of Directors. More recently, Phoenix Society collaborated with NFPA on the Faces of Fire – a campaign that features stories of people impacted by electrical incidents and demonstrates the need for continued education and awareness about electrical hazards both on the job and at home.
‘We all can play a role in fire prevention and advocacy. Phoenix Society is unequivocally the voice of the burn community and they use that voice to make the world a safer place. While facts and figures are important, there is no greater motivation than hearing real-life stories. Through a special partnership, NFPA and Phoenix Society created the Faces of Fire campaign to share the very personal side of burn injuries to provoke movement and prevent future tragedies,’ says Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA
In addition, Phoenix Society has developed advocacy training programmes that empower burn survivors to use their unique stories to bring about real change. Phoenix Advocates are trained to testify in hearings and media on the local, state and national levels. Survivor voices, such as Rob Feeney’s, have made a difference. Feeney, who survived the Station nightclub fire in 2003 and then went on to become a firefighter, has made presentations to many different groups over the years, including lobbying for the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Phoenix Advocates have also played key roles in coalitions that supported fire-safe cigarettes and local issues such as the adoption of life-safety codes.
As we look to the future, Phoenix Society will continue to build momentum as the leading resource, connector and go-to place for those living with a burn injury. The organization sees a future where the voice of the burn community unites across the globe to profoundly advance lifelong healing, optimal recovery and burn prevention. Together, we want to ensure that no one facing the life-changing effects of a burn injury is forced to journey through healing alone.
For more information, go to www.phoenix-society.org