Communities across the state will be receiving grant money from the state to fund fire safety programs geared towards children and older adults.

The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced that 248 municipal fire departments will share in nearly $2 million to fund Student Awareness of Fire Education and senior fire education grants.

North Andover's Fire Department will receive a $4,565 grant for student education and $2,552 for senior education, Methuen will receive $5,663 and $2,730 respectively, Lawrence will receive $6,963 and $2,930, and Haverhill will receive $6,963 and $2,930.

State officials said the town of Andover did not apply for these grants this year.

Students are taught to recognize the dangers of fire and the fire hazards of tobacco products through 23 key fire safety behaviors presented in developmentally appropriate ways. The senior program aims to reduce older adult fire deaths through fire and life safety education. 

"Since 1995, the Student Awareness of Fire Education program has brought fire education to hundreds of thousands of students in the Commonwealth,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a press release. "This program allows firefighters and teachers to work together to provide fire and life safety education to young people."

The average number of children dying in fires annually has dropped by 76% since the student education program began, state officials said.

The senior education program is in its sixth year, providing firefighters with the funding to deliver fire safety education to another vulnerable population — seniors, officials said.

"Home visits, smoke and (carbon monoxide) alarm installations, and fire safety presentations at senior centers by firefighters with senior agencies help older adults develop strategies to stay safe at home for longer," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said these programs are successful because of the training provided to firefighters who deliver this fire safety education to children and older adults.

"The fire departments being supported in these public education efforts are increasing the safety of the people in their communities," he said.

The student fire education program provides $1.2 million through the Executive Office of the Public Safety and Security to local fire departments. The senior fire education program provides $600,000 in grant funds from fees paid by tobacco companies to the Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Program to ensure their products meet the fire safety requirements to be sold in Massachusetts.

The programs are administered by the state’s Department of Fire Services.

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