By John Anderson
While all the students in the Auburn Public School District are winners, a select few gathered at Fire Headquarters yesterday morning to be recognized for their artistic efforts promoting fire safety. 13 students from grades 1 to 5 received certificates and t-shirts for their efforts.
This year’s theme “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives. Test Yours Every Month!” was the subject for every Auburn student in the elementary schools. Pakachoag Grade 4 student Nora Foley claimed 1st place, while Pakachoag Grade 3 student Alex Mercadante won 2nd place. Each received a new bicycle as a prize.
Other school winners were:
Mary D. Stone – Grade 1, Liana Adina; Grade 2, Karlie Beamenderfer.
Bryn Mawr – Grade 1, Thalia Petrie; Grade 2, Ethan Silva.
Julia Bancroft – Grade 3, Lauren Smith; Grade 4, Bryan Cavanaugh; Grade 5, Grace Stannard.
Pakachoag – Grade 3, Sophia Venditti; Grade 4, Trevor Fuller; Grade 5, a tie between Monika Brzoska and Rebecca Dawson.
The Auburn Fire Department has been hosting this contest for well over 20 years, and cooperation with the school department has made it an annual success. This year’s even took a little twist as the Department used their Facebook page to gather data.
After an initial culling by the firefighters, the top 30 posters were uploaded, and the results were tallied. Foley had 2002 people reached and 106 likes while Mercadante had 666 people reached and 59 likes. Although nothing on Facebook is scientific, trends can be identified.
Lieutenant Shawn Steele took over the responsibilities for the S.A.F.E. (Student Awareness of Fire Education) Program about six months ago after Captain Glenn Johnson was promoted to Assistant Chief. Steele also oversees the Senior S.A.F.E. program which has brought safety training to Auburn’s elderly population.
The Massachusetts’ S.A.F.E. Program was introduced in 1995, and since that time, fire deaths of children under the age of 18 have declined by 72%. The phrase like “stop drop and roll” is commonplace in our households along with awareness on Home Escape Plans and Smoke Detector Maintenance.
Lieutenant Steele has two children, aged 5 and 3, who attend private preschool in Oxford. He has pleasantly surprised how much they brought home after a fire safety visit by Oxford Fire. Steele said the Auburn Fire Rescue Department averages about one fire safety presentation each week.
Auburn Mass Daily congratulates all the winners and reminds everyone to be fire safe this holiday season. If you have a concern, Auburn Fire & Rescue is available 24/7. If it’s an emergency, please dial 911.