Urging gun safety in the home with a viral phrase

A new public education campaign aims to warn people about the dangers of storing unlocked and loaded guns in their homes by using the phrase “End Family Fire.”

Launched by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the campaign seeks to prevent accidental deaths by urging gun owners to try to prevent children and guests from getting their hands on firearms in the home—for instance, by storing guns safely, keeping ammunition separate from guns, and using gun locks.

Brady Campaign leaders hope the phrase “End Family Fire” will seep into the national consciousness the way the phrase “designated driver” did, according to an August 8, 2018 article in the Washington Post.

The designated driver campaign was launched in the U.S. in the mid-1980s by Jay Winsten, director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health Communication. Winsten enlisted the help of television networks and ad agencies to help spread the word about the importance of having a “designated driver” who’s sober, and the phrase became commonly known across the country. Other successful public health campaigns have aimed to decrease smoking, promote the use of seat belts, and reduce teen pregnancy rates, Winsten said in the Washington Post article.

“Sustainability is the biggest challenge in all of these campaigns,” he said.

Read the Washington Post article: A gun control group is trying to make a phrase viral. How does it happen?

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Putting the brakes on distracted driving (Harvard Chan School feature)

Designated Driver Campaign: Harvard Center helped to popularize solution to a national problem (Harvard Chan School feature)