Haverhill and Surrounding Communities Receive Student and Senior Fire Safety Education Money

Sparky the Fire Dog greets parade watchers. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill, Methuen, Lawrence, Groveland and North Andover Fire Departments were among area communities this week receiving state grants to buy fire and life safety education for children and older adults.

The state grants were allocated between the Student Awareness of Fire Education—SAFE, for short—and Senior SAFE programs. Haverhill and Lawrence were each awarded $6,781 for the student program and $2,677 for senior education. For Methuen, it was $5,481 and $2,477 respectively; North Andover, $4,381 and $2,277; and Groveland, $3,781 and $2,077.

“For more than 25 years, the SAFE grant program has provided hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts students with fire and life safety lessons that last a lifetime,” said outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker. “We are glad that this year’s awards will support consistent, statewide, professional safety education in a record number of communities.”

Altogether 266 community fire departments shared $1.9 million in grants, setting a new record for the Student Awareness of Fire Education and Senior SAFE programs. Every department that applied for a grant received money.

The average number of children who die in fires annually has dropped by nearly 80% since the SAFE program began in fiscal year 1996, and Massachusetts recently went nearly three years without losing a child to fire. The Senior SAFE program was launched in fiscal year 2014, paying for fire safety education for another vulnerable population, seniors, who face a disproportionate risk of dying in a fire at home.

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