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ELFD receives $4,100 S.A.F.E. grant for continued school fire safety education

Date: 2/1/2010

Feb. 1, 2010

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW -- In November, Fire Chief Richard Brady announced that the East Longmeadow Fire Department (ELFD) had received a 2010 Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) grant in the amount of $1,912 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety. He reported a much higher number to the Board of Selectmen at their Jan. 26 meeting.

Last year, the ELFD had received a grant totaling $3,200 for fire safety education in the schools, and that number was originally cut for the current year. Brady reported that the town will now be receiving a $4,100 S.A.F.E. grant.

Ed McCandlish, the East Longmeadow firefighter that heads up the S.A.F.E. program, uses the money to visit the schools in town to teach students the proper use of the 911 emergency calling system; how to stop, drop and roll when your clothes catch fire; how to crawl under smoke in a fire; preparing and practicing exit drills in the home; how to perform home fire safety checks; the proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors; and more.

Firefighters in full gear also come into the elementary schools so children can learn to trust them as friends -- "someone to run to instead of someone to run away from," Brady said.

The number of deaths in Massachusetts caused by fires has dramatically decreased in the past 50 years in part thanks to programs like S.A.F.E., according to Brady.

"We need to keep the education going," Brady told Reminder Publications. "It's all about kids and teaching them about prevention."

This is the 15th year the town has received a S.A.F.E. grant and Brady believes it has "absolutely been effective" in East Longmeadow.

"If you save just one child [with this education], then it's worth it," he said.