Reading awarded $8,100 in state fire safety grants

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) joined with Reading Fire Chief Gregory Burns this week to announce the Reading Fire Department has been awarded $8,100 in state grants to provide fire safety outreach to local students and older residents.

Reading received $5,700 as part of the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services’ Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program, which was created in 1995 to help fire departments partner with their local public schools to teach students in grades pre-K through 12 about fire safety. An additional $2,400 has been allocated to the Reading Fire Department under the Senior SAFE program, which was established in Fiscal Year 2014 to help fund fire safety presentations at local senior centers and councils on aging, as well as home visits to assist seniors with installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“The SAFE and Senior SAFE Grant Programs provide valuable funding that allow firefighters to deliver fire safety and home safety presentations to our children and seniors,” said Chief Burns. “Our children and seniors are most at risk during fires and other emergencies and this program allows firefighters to provide lifesaving instruction to our most vulnerable populations.  I would like to thank Representative Jones, Representative Haggerty and Senator Lewis for their support of this important grant program.”

“The SAFE program and the Senior SAFE program both offer valuable insight and education to some of our most vulnerable residents so they can stay safe in the event of a fire,” said Representative Jones. “These two programs help the Reading Fire Department to deliver important fire safety messaging and training directly to students and seniors. This is another terrific example of a state-municipal partnership that benefits all residents of the Commonwealth.”

“The SAFE and Senior SAFE grant programs provide critical support to our local fire departments, enabling them to deliver life-saving education to our communities,” said Representative Haggerty. “This funding helps the Reading Fire Department promote and implement fire safety and prevention initiatives, designed for school-age children and older adults, ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe.”

“Fire safety education and prevention resources are crucial to keeping our community safe, especially for young people and older residents,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m very pleased that the Reading Fire Department will receive state support to keep up their great work educating the public about fire prevention and safety.”

The Reading Fire Department is one of 214 municipal fire departments in Massachusetts to receive grant funding for Fiscal Year 2024. A total of $1.6 million was awarded this year, with $1,138,565.58 distributed through the SAFE program and $492,179.29 distributed through the Senior SAFE program. Both programs are funded through legislative earmarks provided to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

“Fire safety education is a smart investment in the safety of our residents and the livability of our communities,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy. “Children and older adults are historically the most at risk in a fire, but the SAFE and Senior SAFE grants are helping to provide them with the tools to protect themselves and their families.”

“I’m deeply grateful to the trained firefighter-educators who are the backbone of the SAFE and Senior SAFE programs,” said State Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine. “They’ve reached hundreds of thousands of youngsters and seniors with lessons that have prevented untold tragedies. I truly believe these grants are a key factor in making Massachusetts one of the most fire-safe states in the nation.”

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