The Springfield Fire Department, Springfield, Massachusetts, held a news conference at its headquarters recently to announce that the department had been awarded the Rolf H. Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant. With the commemorative plaque from NFPA on display at the podium, Fire Marshal David Rivera told reporters from the local television stations and newspaper how the department would use the $5,000 grant to support the department’s Multi-Language Public Education Fire Safety Initiative. Firefighter Christian Lewis (left) and Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant (right) joined Rivera as he made the announcement.
Springfield’s industry, jobs, and population have declined sharply in recent years, while the immigrant population, which generates a large number of fire calls, has mushroomed. The grant will support the department’s fire safety presentations, which will be conducted primarily at cultural and community centers. A key component of the initiative is providing public education to immigrants in their native languages. Certified interpreters have been secured to translate Stop, Drop, and Roll; planning and practicing your escape from fire; cooking safety; and other messages. Fire officials hope to see a drop in dangerous fire behavior and calls to the fire department.
“We have found in some fire and emergency responses that recent immigrants were using charcoal and other types of fuels in their residences in order to cook meals,” said Rivera during a separate interview. “It is this type of behavior that we plan to address.”
(Photo courtesy of Springfield Fire Department)