How Clinton County program works to grow healthy neighborhoods

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Since 1985, the Clinton County Health Department has strived for healthy neighborhoods as part of the Healthy Neighborhoods program. It was once federally funded and now Clinton is one of 19 counties in New York still using the program. Our Kelly O'Brien tagged along to see how the program gives back.

Every day, Maryann Barto of the Clinton County Health Department enters a home to help those living inside.

"There is never two homes that will be exactly alike and there has never been a home that I have been into that has not needed us," Barto said.

She teaches people about home safety.

"We've been probably in 35,000 homes or apartments since 1985," Barto said.

Providing peace of mind, whether it be planning a fire escape route, checking the carbon monoxide levels in the home or providing safety equipment to families, like bedding for asthmatics or smoke detectors.

People like Tenaya Trombley Dapo. The mom of four has been using the program for the last six years.

"Every time I've had a child they have come out again. Any time I've had a concern, they would come out again. It's a really wonderful program," Trombley Dapo said.

Barto goes over a checklist, asking about the home, making folks aware of what is unsafe in the household. Questions like, how many exits in each room? Do you have your home child-proofed? Do you have a gas fireplace? The list goes on. Then, she sits down with you one on one and explains why your home might not be safe and how you can fix it.

"There are so many things that have not happened. There is so many things that have been prevented because of this program," Barto said.

Trombley Dapo says it can be hard to ask for help, but she's glad she did and she will continue to do so.

"There is not a prideful reason when it comes to safety," she said. "Just ask."

The program is offered through Clinton County's Health Department in the environmental office. They work every day, all day, but you do need to schedule an appointment first. This is a free program offered to any resident in Clinton County.