As part of National Campus Fire Safety Month, four college communities in Massachusetts are taking part in the inaugural, national Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project. College students in Amherst, Boston, Easton and Worcester will be working alongside fire fighters installing smoke alarms in at-risk homes to help improve the safety of their communities. Over 3,000 people across the nation die in fires each year and, in 2016, 47 people were killed by structure fires in Massachusetts. A leading contributing factor in many fatal fires is missing or disabled smoke alarms.
“Fire fighters are already often doing home safety visits and installing smoke alarms,” said Ed Comeau from Campus Firewatch, who is coordinating the program with smoke alarms donated by First Alert. “By having college students go on these visits, they are learning fire safety by doing fire safety, lessons they can carry with them long after they graduate, and at the same time are doing an invaluable community service.”
Along with Massachusetts, fire departments in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia and Texas are also taking part in this project.
“Collaborative events like these can make a significant impact in improving fire safety for thousands of individuals,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “Through our partnership with Campus Firewatch and participating local fire departments and universities, we hope to help ensure the long-term safety and sustainability of college communities.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a proclamation on September 1 recognizing September as Campus Fire Safety Month in the Commonwealth to help raise awareness of the importance of campus fire safety. National Campus Fire Safety Month was first recognized in 2005, and since then almost 400 proclamations have been signed by the nation’s governors as well as resolutions in the United States House of Representatives and Senate. Massachusetts has the honor of being the only state to have issued a proclamation every year since the program started.
Other activities in Massachusetts highlighting campus fire safety include the campaign “Smoke Alarms and Two Ways Out-Best College Roommates EVAH” that was launched for the second year at an event at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester featuring college town fire chiefs from across the state along with Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennet and Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. The goal of this program is to emphasize the importance of smoke alarms and knowing two ways out, especially in off-campus housing, where all of the recent fatal fires in Massachusetts and across the nation have occurred. This campaign is a partnership between Campus Firewatch, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, the Easton Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association.
More information about the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project and campus fire safety resources are available at www.campus-firewatch.com/towngown and on social media #towngownfire.
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