What Is S.A.F.E.?
The Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) Program is a state initiative to provide resources to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12. The mission is to enable students to recognize the dangers of fire and more specifically the fire hazards tobacco products pose.
The direction of the fire service today is focused on prevention. The Goshen Fire Department has been involved in the S.A.F.E. program for over a decade. Chief Sue Labrie has led the effort to teach the students of Goshen and Chesterfield fire and life safety lessons that the students then bring home and teach their families. The S.A.F.E. program has also reached out to summer visitors and senior citizens. The department has also been involved in distributing and installing smoke detectors and most recently carbon monoxide detectors to Goshen’s senior citizens.
Key Fire Safety Behaviors
There are 23 Key Fire Safety Behaviors that should be taught in age and developmentally appropriate ways, such as:
- Stop, Drop, and Roll
- Making and Practicing Home Escape Plans
- Reporting Fires and Emergencies
- Crawl Low Under Smoke
- Smoke Detector Maintenance
- Kitchen Safety
- Holiday Safety and more
Fire and life safety is easily combined with math, science, language arts, health, and physical education lessons. Integration into the existing curriculum topics is essential.
- Training children reduces anxiety levels so they are able to react to stressful situations
- Fire, School, Health and Police Departments working together to help children survive
- Family medical and health care cost reductions
- Firefighter as a role model
- Fires, burns and deaths reduced.
In the first nine years of the S.A.F.E. Program we have honored more than 185 children who have used the lessons they learned in school through the S.A.F.E. Program in real life emergencies. We call these youngsters who remained calm in a difficult situation, our "YOUNG HEROES". Many families claim they are alive today because their youngsters “made” them install smoke alarms and practice a home escape plan, or reported an emergency, or persuaded a grandmother to ‘stop, drop, and roll’. Some success stories are:
- A 12-year old boy blocks smoke by closing the door and covering cracks with a blanket to save four younger siblings.
- A girl leads her brother to safety by crawling low under smoke in the house to outdoors.
- A boy calls rescuers on 9-1-1 to save his sister from choking.
- Smoke detector awakens 7-year old who rouses the family and instructs them to "get out."
- Family who rehearsed home escape plans as a homework assignment use it to get out alive.
How Was S.A.F.E. Originally Funded?
The S.A.F.E. Program has been in existence since FY ’96. During the first seven years, S.A.F.E. was funded by the tobacco tax, better known as the Health Protection Fund, because smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. It is currently funded by a state appropriation from general revenue funds distributed by the Executive Office of Public Safety. In FY ’06, 225 fire departments shared $1,078,666 in funding.
- The careless use and disposal of smoking materials is the single leading cause of fire deaths in the state and in the country.
- Due to the tremendous risk of injury and death in fires started by tobacco products, the Legislature appropriated funding from monies raised through the cigarette sales tax for Fiscal Years 1996 to 2002.
- Since 2002, the approximately 200 fire departments that were able to keep their programs alive have done so sharing a federal grant, which was one-third of the funding received in previous years, and through support from their local communities.
What Does the Goshen Fire Department Do When They Visit New Hingham Elementary?
Click on the link below to see photo's taken through our Thermal Imaging camera of 6th Grade students at New Hingham Elementary School in Chesterfield. These pictures were taken during the annual Fire Safety Field Day in June, 2005 and provide a good sense of what firefighters see when using the camera in emergencies.
Student Images as Seen Through a Thermal Imager (June, 2005)
Click on any of the related articles below to read more about Fire Prevention activities in our community:
9th Annual Fire Safety Field Day a Success (05/30/2007)
Tobacco Danger Taught at New Hingham (04/25/2007)
Tobacco Safetly Newsletter (April, 2007)
Hot Spot Hazards Taught at New Hingham (03/07/2007)