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Firefighters buy safety center

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Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune/ Lake Valley firefighter Tyler Jack lends a hand to Blane Peveler, 7, as he escapes through a window from a mock fire at the Life Safety Center.
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The Lake Valley Firefighters Association received a grant of $44,000 from the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Lake Valley Firefighters used the grant to purchase a Life Safety Center – a trailer used for conducting fire safety programs for the public.

The purpose of the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program is to assist state, regional, national or local organizations to address fire prevention and safety. The primary goal is to reach high-risk target groups including children, seniors and firefighters. The emphasis of the grant program is the prevention of fire-related injuries to children.

The Lake Valley Firefighters Association, with proceeds from the annual Firefighter’s Ball, provided the $5,000 down payment required by the grant.

“The firefighters association is proud to provide the community with such a fantastic teaching device,” said Martin Goldberg, president of the association.

The Lake Valley Firefighters purchased the Life Safety Center from the We Care Company in Galt, Calif.

“We chose the trailer by We Care Company because of its unique design and because the owner, Kevin Harcourt of Fire Safe America, has developed a complete education program,” Goldberg said.

The program includes a 40-minute presentation featuring “Gus” the firefighter puppet. Gus greets and interacts with the crowd and encourages participation. He asks safety questions with a backdrop of safety songs. Gus invites the children and adults into the Life Safety Center for a short, fun-filled educational video. The instructor talks to the audience about safety in the home and demonstrates with a simulated stovetop fire and smoke alarm, reminding the audience the importance of practicing safety with their families.

Following the video the participants exit the Safety Center, and then small groups at a time are brought back inside to practice in the interactive bedroom. They are placed into the bedroom where smoke is introduced, a smoke alarm is sounded, the door is hot, and their only choice of escape is the window. They open the window and exit safely to their pre-discussed meeting place. When all are accounted for, they go to the neighbor’s house to call 9-1-1 on an interactive telephone system. An instructor, through the loudspeaker, lets the audience hear both sides of the conversation and answers the call in the control room of the Safety Center. The presentations are age-appropriate from preschool to adult.

The Life Safety Center presentations are not just about fire safety. Presentations are available about defensible space and wild land fire emergencies, earthquake safety, severe weather safety, disaster training, homeland defense emergencies, and other types of safety situations.

For more information on the grant program or the USFA, contact the Grants Program Office at (866) 274-0960 or e-mail FIREGRANTS@dhs.gov. For information on Lake Valley’s Fire Safety Center, contact Martin Goldberg at (530) 577-3737 or Goldberg@caltahoefire.net.

For information on Kevin Harcourt’s Life Safety Centers, go to the Web at http://www.wecarecompany.com or http://www.firesafeamerica.org.


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