Fire Departments receive SAFE education grants

Staff Writer
Published: 1/15/2019 9:00:41 PM

Six local fire departments have received over $30,000 in grants from the state to help educate students and seniors about fire safety and prevention. The Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) Program, and Senior SAFE grants are part of a state program.

“The S.A.F.E. Program has been instrumental in educating the next generation of fire safe children for 24 years,” said Governor Charlie Baker said in a press release, “The program is a great example of state and local governments collaborating with teachers to provide fire safety education to young people.”

In total, 246 fire departments throughout the state received S.A.F.E grants. Grants awarded to six local fired departments are as follows:

Athol Fire Department: $3,754 S.A.F.E Grant, $2,400 Senior SAFE

Barre Fire Department: $1,754 SAFE Grant, $2,400 Senior SAFE

Erving Fire Department: $1,754 SAFE Grant, $2,100 Senior SAFE

Orange Fire Department: $3,754 SAFE Grant, $2,400 Senior SAFE

Phillipston Fire Department: $2,854 SAFE Grant, $2,100 Senior SAFE

Wendell Fire Department: $2,854 SAFE Grant, $2,100 Senior SAFE

Since the SAFE Program began 24 years ago, the average number of children dying in fires annually dropped by 74 percent, according to the organization. The Senior SAFE program began five years ago with the goal of educating elders , who are at the highest risk of dying in house fires in Massachusetts, about fire safety. The grant helps facilitate partnerships between fire departments and local senior service agencies.

“Firefighters use these funds to take opportunities to visit older adults in their homes and provide safety education and strategies on how to survive a fire,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said in a press release.

Grant sizes are determined based on a municipality’s population size and fire department size.

Annually the S.A.F.E Program provides $1.2 million to municipal fire departments through the Executive Office of the Public Safety and Security. The Senior SAFE Program provides $600,000 in grant funds from fees paid by tobacco companies to the Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Program to ensure their products meet the fire safety requirements to be sold in Massachusetts. The programs are administered by the state Department of Fire Services.

According to Jennifer Mieth, a public information officer for the state Department of Fire Services, keeping a lid on pans while cooking and never leaving a hot stove unattended are the most important measures for fire prevention.

Mieth said that most fire departments in the state apply for the grants and receive some degree of support. Petersham, Royalston and Warwick did not receive grants this year. Any money not claimed by some fire departments is distributed equally to the rest.

Royalston fire chief Keith Newton said the town did not have time to make the grant application deadline this year. Being a small fire department in a small town, the time it takes to apply was restrictive.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@atholdailynews.com.


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