Southwick Fire Department receives safe grants

Southwick fire truck. (Courtesy: The Westfield News)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – About two weeks ago, Gov. Charlie Baker and State Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey, sent out a press release congratulating Chief Russ Anderson and the Southwick Fire Department.

For the first time since 2013, Southwick Fire has been awarded a safe grant that totals up to $6,547.

There are two parts to the grant that Anderson applied for. One is for the students across the school district, called S.A.F.E. (Student Awareness of Fire Education), and the other is a Senior Safe grant.

Southwick Fire received $3,951 for the student awareness grant and $2,596 for the Senior Safe grant for senior citizens.

Anderson has a strong interest in educating Southwick’s youth and the senior citizens. The official announcement of receiving the grant was a step towards progress.

“It (grant) really gives us an opportunity to do a lot more things,” said Anderson.

Chief Anderson’s department will have more opportunities to go into every school in the district speaking to students and will be working directly with the Southwick Council on Aging on fire education. Last October, the fire department and the Council on Aging partnered with the American Red Cross to do a smoke detector program for senior citizens.

It is not just the opportunities that the Southwick Fire Department will now have with the safe grants. It is the track record that the state-run program has had for many years running.

“The program is going on for 22 years, we know it’s a program that really works,” said Anderson.

According to the press release sent out by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Department of Fire Services, since that time, the average annual child deaths have been reduced by 70%. Two years ago, the S.A.F.E. program was expanded to offer funds to local communities in support of senior fire prevention training.”

For more information on the grants given out by the state, call Cynthia Ouellette at 978- 567-3381 or the S.A.F.E. staff at 978-567-3388. If there are any questions or comments for Anderson or the rest of the Southwick Fire Department, they can be reached at 413-569-6363