WESTFIELD, Mass. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS) – The Westfield Fire Department was one of 212 departments across the Commonwealth to receive state grants.
The WFD received a $5,937 Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program grant to work with classroom teachers to deliver fire and life safety lessons.
The department also received a $3,115 Senior SAFE program grant to work with older adults on fire and life safety.
“‘This is the 21st year of the S.A.F.E. Program in Massachusetts and we are truly reaching our goal of raising a fire safe generation of children,’ said Governor Charlie Baker. ‘The average number of children who die in fires each year in Massachusetts has dropped by over 70 percent,’” according to the release from the governor’s office.
The S.A.F.E. Program allows trained firefighter-educators to work with teachers to deliver age-appropriate fire and life safety lessons that also meet the requirements of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Health Curriculum Frameworks, the release states.
“‘Seniors are most at risk of dying in fires in Massachusetts and the Senior SAFE program works to change that statistic,’ said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. ‘Firefighters use these funds to better educate seniors on fire prevention, general home safety and how to be better prepared to survive a fire,’” according to the governor’s office.
The S.A.F.E. Program provides $1.25 million through the Executive Office of the Public Safety and Security to local fire departments. The Senior SAFE program provides $600,000 in grant funds from fees paid by tobacco programs 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.
“Educating youngsters on the dangers of fire and being safe around fire at early ages, has reduced the number of fires involving young people. We work closely with law enforcement officials and provide counseling and education to youngsters who cause unsafe fire situations,” is a statement posted on the WFD’s Website regarding its community education programs.
Two Westfield residents died in house fires in the city during 2015. In July, 64-year-old Frederick A. Kupec died after being rescued from a fire at his home located at 23 Family Lane. A cigarette in a sofa had started that fire when the victim had apparently nodded off while smoking.
On December 23, John R. Enko, 48, died in his home located at 64 Mill St. from a space heater being placed too close to combustibles.
Staff Writer Christine Charnosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org