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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, the Springfield Fire Department will be officially accepting a $27,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help fund fire prevention and fire safety education efforts.
Each year, Springfield experiences more than 500 residential fires, resulting in an average 3.25 deaths, 17 injuries, and millions of dollars of property loss. “Our fire death rate is much higher than the national average,” said Springfield Fire Chief David Hall. “This problem is due in part to high levels of poverty in Springfield. It also disproportionately affects some of the most vulnerable in our community—children under the age of 5.”
Recently, the department partnered with Springfield Public Schools’ “Parents as Teachers” (PAT) program to provide fire safety education in the homes of children under the age of 5. Under the guidance of the Springfield Fire Department public education section, PAT educators conduct residential fire safety surveys, serving some of the most vulnerable Springfield citizens. The results of these surveys were shocking—53% of PAT families do not have adequate smoke alarms, 50% have no fire extinguisher, and few have an escape ladder. Many aspects of fire safety require an adjustment in behavior, which is something the families can do at no cost. However, these aspects of fire safety are more expensive than many families can afford. The cost of escape ladders, smoke alarms, and fire extinguishers quickly becomes a burden they cannot bear.
In order to combat fire safety issues, the Fire Department has provided fire safety resources to the community for many years, including free smoke alarms, educational materials and free programming. The Department has funded its public education program through public donations, grants and general revenue funds. In the last 3 years alone, the Fire Department has provided educational messaging to more than 130,000 citizens and installed nearly 2,000 smoke alarms and another 2,000 batteries.
Unfortunately, the additional needs of fire extinguishers, escape ladders, and additional smoke alarms exceeded the abilities of the Springfield Fire Department until now. The funding awarded will go towards buying 1000 smoke alarms, 250 fire extinguishers, 50 escape ladders, and a part-time program coordinator. The coordinator will work with families to create escape plans in conjunction with escape ladders; teach families how to use the provided extinguishers; and teach families how to install and maintain provided smoke alarms. These resources will be gifted into Springfield homes where children reside.
“This grant is going to make a world of difference to citizens in our community” said Hall. “It will protect children, reduce property damage and fire injuries, and maybe even save lives.”
This grant requires a 5% local match which will be paid for with Fire Department funds set aside for fire prevention efforts.
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For more information contact: Cara Erwin at at 417-864-1699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.