Hilltown Communities Receive Student Awareness of Fire Education Grants

$14K In S.A.F.E. Grants to Promote Student Awareness of Fire Safety

State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces today that the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Department of Fire Services have awarded $14,748 in Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program grant funds to nine communities throughout his Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District.

S.A.F.E. Program is a state initiative to provide resources to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12. The mission is to enable students to recognize the dangers of fire and more specifically the fire hazards tobacco products pose.

“S.A.F.E. programming ensures our students are alert and aware in situations involving fire,” said Downing. “I am pleased the public safety agencies were able to continue proven fire education programs like S.A.F.E. and maintain ties between local schools and fire departments during these difficult economic times.”

The S.A.F.E. program was established in Fiscal Year 1996 to educate students about the fire and health hazards of smoking-related materials. The S.A.F.E. program is school-based, however funds can be used to implement community fire and life safety education programs outside of school buildings. S.A.F.E. is implemented by firefighters who have special training in teaching fire and life safety.

There are 23 Key Fire Safety Behaviors that should be taught in age and developmentally appropriate ways, such as:

  • Stop, Drop, and Roll
  • Making and Practicing Home Escape Plans
  • Reporting Fires and Emergencies
  • Crawl Low Under Smoke
  • Smoke Detector Maintenance
  • Kitchen Safety
  • Holiday Safety and more

Fire and life safety is easily combined with math, science, language arts, health, and physical education lessons. Integration into the existing curriculum topics is essential.

Benefits of learning these key fire safety behaviors include:

  • Training children reduces anxiety levels so they are able to react to stressful situations
  • Fire, School, Health and Police Departments working together to help children survive
  • Family medical and health care cost reductions
  • Firefighter as a role model
  • Fires, burns and deaths reduced.

In the first thirteen years of the S.A.F.E. Program we have honored more than 225 children who have used the lessons they learned in school through the S.A.F.E. Program in real life emergencies. We call these youngsters who remained calm in a difficult situation, our “YOUNG HEROES”. Many families claim they are alive today because their youngsters “made” them install smoke alarms and practice a home escape plan, or reported an emergency, or persuaded a grandmother to ‘stop, drop, and roll’.

S.A.F.E. educators serve as role models for impressionable youth while providing students with firsthand knowledge of the dangers associated with fire, age-appropriate information on preventing and surviving those fires that occur, and through a core school-based program, to effect a change in the behavior and the safety of the community at large. The S.A.F.E. Program is designed to create a partnership between the school and fire departments.

Local Fiscal Year 2010 S.A.F.E. Grant Recipients include:

  • Ashfield – $1,492
  • Cheshire – $1,492
  • Chesterfield – $1,492
  • Cummington – $1,492
  • Goshen – $1,492
  • Lanesborough – $1,492
  • North Adams – $1,912
  • Pittsfield – $2,992
  • Westhampton – $892

Total: $14,748

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