Exploratory studies in the Scandinavian countries have suggested that the national cost of unintentional injuries is equal to 4% of the Gross National Product (GNP). One way for Swedish society to handle this situation has been through community-based injury prevention programs. This study used action research methods to supplement the understanding of the community development for injury prevention. The aim of this paper is to present the participative model used in one of the first of these programs, the Motala Injury Prevention Program, and lessons learned from the first 10 years of its operation. The program 'succeeded' in 1993, when Motala Municipality formed a regular Safety Board chaired by the Municipal Commissioner. These are five main messages from the initial phases of the program: a community-based injury prevention program has to be regarded as a long-term project; preferably over more than a 10 year period, economic calculations are important in the community analysis phase of the program, inter-linkage between community organizations is essential in the design phase, the hand-over from the initial program developers to practitioners is critical in the implementation phase, it is important to maintain a high-quality data collection routine even after the conclusion of the community analysis phase of the program. These observations have a potential to be valid at least for Northern Europe, which, by comparison with other parts of the world is a relatively homogenous area with regard to external causes of injuries. Regarding other communities, there are known differences in injury rates and community organization.