A local fire department has received a grant that will help it continue to educate people on the dangers of fires â€” and how they can prevent them.
The South Fork Volunteer Fire Department received a $1,000 grant from the Firefighterâ€™s Burned Children Fund, according to Lt. Thomas Raper with the department.
The purpose of this grant is to fund new and innovative programs for fire and life safety education throughout the state.
South Fork was one of three departments statewide to receive the grant, which will go toward establishing programs and purchasing materials for fire safety education.
South Fork VFD already provides programs to local schools and organizations and displays safety materials at open houses and fund raisers, Raper said. In 2005, the department put on 21 fire and life saving programs.
These events are important for several reasons, Raper said.
â€œIt gets the firefighters out in the public,â€ Raper said. â€œIt gives (residents) a chance to see what we do and what we have, and where their tax moneyâ€™s going.â€
And most importantly, education can prevent damage to property, injury and even loss of life.
â€œA lot of the fires and stuff we run to can be prevented,â€ Raper said. â€œThatâ€™s why these classes are so important.
â€œIf we can get out in the public and educate people on how to be safe and how to keep this stuff from happening, then hopefully they wonâ€™t have to go through a fire.â€
This new money will help South Fork VFD beef up its programming, which up until now has relied on free materials and donations, Raper said.
â€œWith the grant we received from the Firefighterâ€™s Burned Children Fund, we will be able to revitalize our program so we may continue to protect residents from fire by educating them on safe practices with fire,â€ Raper said.
The South Fork VFD currently has about 30 members. The station is located on Long Shoals Road.
by Alice Smith