By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Fire Department recently presented its Student Awareness and Fire Education, or S.A.F.E., program to displaced families that are now residing at the Days Inn. The program gave Captain Sean T. Lawlor and other fire department personnel a chance to speak with the tenants about fire safety in the confines of the hotel.
Lawlor began the program for the adults by talking about emergency exit plans. He encouraged them to make sure they know what to do if a fire were to occur and suggested that they practice an exit plan with their children in a calm manner so they will know how to react.
“As parents, you want to make sure that your children are in a safe environment,” Lawlor said. “It is very important that the smoke detectors and sprinklers are in working order. They are in every room; I have checked. It is important to make sure that these do not get damaged or removed.”
Because the physical space of a hotel room is somewhat different than an apartment or private home – with separate areas for cooking and other daily activities – there are many safety tips that could be useful, Lawlor noted. There is also a constant change of occupancy, so tenants need to be mindful of potential problems with electrical devices, storage, general housekeeping, smoking materials, and hot liquids among other things.
While the adults were in one area, the children were having their own safety class, supervised by fire department and Days Inn personnel. They were able to interact with the firefighters, ask questions, and recite important safety tips such as “crawl low and go” and “stop, drop and roll.”
Those families that attended the evening's program were treated to pizza, donated by Papa Gino's. Home Depot also donated safety outlet plug covers for the tenants. Each child was given a grab bag that included a fire safety coloring book.
William Fitz, manager of the Days Inn, was instrumental in helping to organize the groups of families for each of the three presentations.
“The fire department must change or adapt to reflect the community's needs,” Lawlor noted. “The Shrewsbury Fire Department wishes to be proactive and prepare the people in the community whether at school, work, or in their home on how to react should a fire occur. But our responsibilities extend well beyond fire hazards. We need to also include injury prevention in a number of areas. Our goal is to install these proper behaviors into the entire population and public education is the best way to accomplish this.”