LONGMEADOW, MA – State Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow) secured $1.2 million in the FY19 budget for the Student Awareness Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program.
This funding will 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.
The students are taught 23 key fire safety behaviors in developmentally appropriate ways. Since the program began in 1996, child fire deaths have dropped dramatically across the state.
“Having worked with our local fire departments over the years, I have a deeper appreciation for all of the work they do outside of fighting fires,” Rep Ashe said. “This S.A.F.E. Program is a prime example of the work that is being done to save lives by teaching our students the importance of fire safety and awareness. As well, the program has been adapted to also assist our senior population. Using this money to protect our most vulnerable residents is money well spent.
“I’m extremely proud to have secured this funding in this year’s budget as I know how crucial it is to all of our local fire departments. It was a pleasure to work with my friend, Longmeadow Fire Chief Dearborn, to accomplish this goal. I am grateful for his leadership as well as all of the chiefs in my district, throughout the Commonwealth and all of the incredibly brave men and women who help keep our children, our seniors and all of us safe day in and day out.”
The Senior S.A.F.E. is another grant program whose mission is to reduce older adult fire deaths and burns through fire and life safety education. Seniors are at the highest risk of dying in a fire and this program provides safety tips and reminders which is especially important for those seniors who live alone.
Some of the risks presented include smoking, electrical and heating dangers and the use of home oxygen. The program reviews the importance and installation of smoke detectors – including the replacement of batteries, the installation of night lights and installing a heating limit device on stoves. It also promotes a partnership with the local Council on Aging Center, the local fire department and other agencies.
LFD Chief John Dearborn said: “Without Rep. Ashe’s support many Fire Departments, including the Longmeadow Fire Department, would be forced to significantly reduce or eliminate these programs. The SAFE and Senior SAFE programs are our primary means to provide fire education to our school aged and senior populations. These programs impact our entire community, reducing cases of serious fires and injuries associated with fires.”