State awards public fire education grants to local fire departments

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Region – The Baker-Polito Administration announced that 246 fire departments have been awarded public fire education grants. Of those, 245 departments will receive Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) Program grants to work with classroom teachers to deliver fire and life safety lessons. Two-hundred-forty departments will also receive a Senior SAFE Program grant to work with older adults on fire and life safety. Locally Grafton, Hudson, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough all received both grants.

“The S.A.F.E. Program has been instrumental in educating the next generation of fire safe children for 24 years,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a press release. “The program is a great example of state and local governments collaborating with teachers to provide fire safety education to young people.”

The average number of children dying in fires annually has dropped by 74 percent since the S.A.F.E. Program began, according to officials.

“In its 5th year, the Senior SAFE Program is supporting fire educators who deliver fire safety education to seniors who are most at risk of dying in fires in Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Firefighters use these funds to take opportunities to visit older adults in their homes and provide safety education and strategies on how to survive a fire.”

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “The S.A.F.E. and Senior SAFE programs are having a great impact on the fire and life safety of our most vulnerable populations – children and elders.”

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 Department of Fire Services.

Town              S.A.F.E.          Senior SAFE

Grafton           $1,754             $2,600

Hudson           $4,354             $2,600

Shrewsbury     $5,454             $2,800

Southborough $3,754             $2,400

Westborough   $4,354             $2,600