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Piper Trust Challenges Community to Support Fire Fighters Association Adopt-A-Fence Program

Awards $100,000 to Build Fences for Low-income Families This Summer

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (June 7, 2005) – The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust today announced the award of a $100,000 grant to the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, Inc. to support its Adopt-A-Fence Program and build pool fences for low-income families with children under age 6. The Trust is partnering with the Build a Fence-Save a Life campaign sponsored by The Arizona Republic and 12 News to challenge the community to match the gift dollar for dollar.

“The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is committed to protecting children – some of our most vulnerable citizens – and this program helps low-income families as well as raises awareness about the risk that unfenced pools pose for all young children,” remarks Judy Mohraz, president and CEO of the Trust. “We encourage the community to match the Trust’s gift through the Build a Fence-Save a Life campaign to make this a year-round program.”

Rich Bauer, director of community programs for the Fire Fighters Association, notes that the association received more than 1,000 applications for free pool fences last year and was only able to install about 100 fences between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“The fact of the matter is that children drown all year long,” Bauer emphasizes. “While it’s essential to watch your children around water, the more you do to childproof your home, the better you can protect your children.” He notes that in nearly every drowning incident to which fire fighters are called, there is no pool fence and the parents say the child was out of their sight for only a few minutes. “People are taking a risk with their children’s lives when they think they can physically watch their child every second of every day.”

Statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services show that pool fences can reduce the risk of drowning for young children. Of the 269 child drowning cases in Arizona from 1995 to 2001, there were only six cases where there were fences with latched gates. Yet many homes – especially older homes – do not have pool fences. From 2000 to today, 116 children age 4 and under have drowned in Maricopa County.

The Arizona Republic & 12 News Build a Fence-Save a Life program is part of Target Zero: One Drowning is Too Many!, a public education campaign that emphasizes the myriad ways parents can protect their children against water accidents. The campaigns message is to:

  • BLOCK and lock access to your pool or spa using fences and gates
  • WATCH your kids the entire time they’re around water – ANY WATER!
  • LEARN how to administer lifesaving CPR and enroll kids in water-safety lessons

The community is encouraged to donate to the Build a Fence-Save a Life campaign through Target Zero by visiting, filling out a coupon in The Arizona Republic or calling 602.444.8661.

The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, Inc. is made up of 1,800 fire fighters in Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler and Peoria. In the last four years, the nonprofit organization has raised funds to build 160 free pool fences for low-income families with children age 6 and younger. The Fire Fighters Association partners with Ironman Pool Fence to build fences at cost.

For free pool fence eligibility requirements or to donate to the Adopt-A-Fence Program, visit or call 602.277.1500.

For information about Target Zero and tips for protecting children around water, visit