The Cleveland Fire Department has received a special gift through the National Fire Safety Council and members of the business community to help educate local children about fire safety.
“The approaching cooler weather will mean an increase in fire hazards,” said CFD Chief Steve Haun.
Jim Griffith, fire safety coordinator for the NFSC, provided a mascot suit to CFD which will be used in schools and other public safety programs to spread the word about fire safety.
The “Firepup” costume is a colorful tool which enhances the other materials provided to CFD in fire prevention. Coloring books, CDs, badges and other items are “teaching tools,” according to Griffith.
Griffith said NFSC has provided a number of suits throughout the years to CFD and other area fire departments. Donations from the community are collected and the funds are used to provide the suit as well as other learning materials.
Griffith also noted the learning materials are not limited to children.
“We also have a number of materials which are geared toward adult fire safety as well,” Griffith said.
Haun said Tennessee is high nationally on the fire fatality list.
“Our state ranked second highest in fire deaths in 2011. Fire prevention allows us to reach kids early and impress upon them the importance of fire safety,” he said.
Individuals such as John Paul Douglas, Wayne Walston, and companies like Bank of Cleveland, Specialty Enterprises, Steve Williams Construction, Whirlpool Corporation and others donated to the cause to help firefighters to teach local school children.
Also among those giving were Hooper Insurance, Bradley Rentals, Cleveland Optical Dispensary, Tri-State Truss, Check into Cash, Young’s Auto Body, Cleveland Utilities.
“It’s only through the continued and united efforts of teachers, parents, children and concerned residents that fires can be prevented, CFD Fire Inspector Gil Frederick said.
Fire prevention begins in kindergarten and through the fifth-grade.
Other programs provided by CFD continue the education to adults.
Also donating extra to provide for the costume were Royal Inn, Catie’s Kitchen, VFW Post 2598, Peerless Pediatrics, Aspire Orthodontics, Blood Assurance, Crump, Richardson and Young Attorneys; and Burns and Henry Attorneys.
“We thank all those who have helped us keep Cleveland and Bradley County safe by supporting this program since 1990,” Frederick said.
According to officials, the programs will be held in all city and county schools and day-care centers during the October “Fire Prevention Week” and throughout the school year.