STONEHAM — Chief Matthew Grafton is pleased to announce that the Stoneham Fire Department has been awarded $4,565 for the 2020 Student Awareness of Fire Education or S.A.F.E. Program and $2,552 for the Senior SAFE Program by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.
“Our firefighters enjoy working closely with our school teachers to help our young students learn what they can do to prevent fires and what to do during a fire and other emergencies,” Chief Grafton said.
The program has also been expanded to offer funds to local communities in support of senior fire prevention training.
“This program educates seniors on fire prevention, general home safety and how to be better prepared in the event of a fire,” Chief Grafton said. “The Stoneham Fire Department has partnered with the Stoneham Board of Health, Senior Center and Select Board to offer the S.A.F.E. Program.”
Through the program, Stoneham firefighters, members of the Board of Health and Council on Aging members conduct safety visits at senior residences, where they distribute and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, check for trip and fall hazards, and check for cooking and electrical hazards. In collaboration with the Select Board, the Stoneham Fire Department also recently distributed more than 400 non-slip socks to seniors during the holidays.
The S.A.F.E. Program provides $1.2 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 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’s Department of Fire Services.
Key to both programs is specially trained fire educators to work with classroom teachers and seniors to deliver age-appropriate lessons on fire and life safety. The key fire and life safety behaviors in the school-based program meet both the requirements of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Health Curriculum Frameworks and the state Department of Fire Services Curriculum Planning Guidebook.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “This is the 25th 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.”
The average number of children who die in fires each year in Massachusetts has dropped 76% since the program started compared to a similar timeframe before the program.
“Since consistent comprehensive fire education is the one thing we are doing for children that we are not doing for every other age group, I think it’s fair to say we are proving fire education works,” Ostroskey added. “We hope to have the same success with the Senior SAFE Program in reducing deaths and injuries to older adults.”
For more information about the Student Awareness of Fire Education or Senior SAFE Programs please call Chief Grafton at 781-438-0127 or go to www.mass.gov/dfs and type “SAFE” in the “search this organization” box.