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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Executive Department

State House Boston, MA 02133

(617) 725-4000











October 13, 2004 CONTACT:

Jennifer Mieth

(978) 567-3381







Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn, and State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan today honored recent ‘young heroes’ from the Student Awareness of Fire Education, or S.A.F.E. Program. Eleven children from Cheshire, Danvers, Douglas, Everett, Hanover, Mansfield, Sterling and Upton were recognized in an awards ceremony in the Great Hall at the State House. These children used the lessons they learned in school from trained firefighters in real life emergencies, and are among nearly 190 Young Heroes recognized in the first nine years of the S.A.F.E. Program.


Lieutenant Governor Healey said, “The SAFE program is an excellent partnership between firefighters and schools that gives children across the Commonwealth the training they need to think on their feet and protect themselves and their families in the face of danger. The youth we honor here today are an inspiration to us all.”


Secretary Flynn said, “S.A.F.E. is a solid program that continues to show results as it enters its 10th year. It is measured not only in these individual success stories, but by the fact we have cut child fire deaths in this state by 50 percent.”


This event is part of the state’s observance of Fire Prevention Week, which was October 3-9, 2004. State Fire Marshal Coan said, “Fire Prevention Week is a time when the Commonwealth’s fire service renews its commitment to raising a fire safe generation children through public education.”


Public safety officials were joined by the Rep. Timothy Toomey, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety; Westwood Fire Chief William Scoble, vice-president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts; Capt. Barbara Stone, vice-president of the Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts; local fire chiefs and S.A.F.E. educators; families and teachers; honorees from Cheshire, Danvers, Douglas, Everett, Hanover, Mansfield, Sterling and Upton. The second and third graders from the Fletcher- Maynard Academy in Cambridge livened up the festivities by singing fire safety songs.


S.A.F.E. provides grants to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12. The mission is to enable students to recognize the dangers of fire, including the fire hazards tobacco products pose. Smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. This fall begins the 10th year of Student Awareness of Fire Education Program.


School-Fire Department Cooperation


Specially trained firefighter-educators work with classroom teachers to present key fire safety behaviors in age and developmentally appropriate ways. Fire and life safety is easily combined with math, science, language arts, health and physical education lessons. S.A.F.E. educators work hard to integrate lessons into existing curriculum topics and to assist schools meet the objectives of the state’s curriculum frameworks.


Child Fire Deaths Cut in Half Since Start of S.A.F.E Program.


In the first 9 years of the S.A.F.E. program, the average annual number of child fire deaths in Massachusetts has been cut in half. Prior to the program, the average number of child fire deaths per year was 17, and since the start of the S.A.F.E. Program, it has dropped to an average of only eight child fire deaths per year.



Young Heroes Honored at Today’s Ceremony




¨ Cailin McMahon


On October 17, 2003 12-year old Cailin McMahon woke up in her home to the sounds of the smoke detector sounding. She quickly roused her parents, her sister and aunt and got everyone out safely. Their home was totally destroyed in the electrical fire, but the family is safe due to Cailin’s actions. Cailin learned how to react in an emergency at the Cheshire Elementary School from the Cheshire Fire Department’s S.A.F.E. Program.




¨ Molly Cushman


On December 12, 2003, 9-year-old Molly Cushman woke up and wondered why her mother had not awakened her for school. She heard her 7-month-old sister in her crib crying and realized something was wrong. Molly went to her mother’s bedroom and found her semi-conscious due to a diabetic problem. Molly remained calm and dialed 911 for help. She met emergency personnel at the front door and led them to her mother. Molly learned what to do and how to respond during an emergency at the Thorpe School during a S.A.F.E. education program by the Danvers Fire Department.


¨ Ethan Smith


On May 29, 2003, 8-year-old Ethan Smith was at home with his younger sister and father. Ethan’s father, who is diabetic, began to feel ill. Ethan tried to get his father to drink some juice, but he began having a seizure. Ethan immediately dialed 911 for help and remained calm as he gave the information to the dispatcher. Because of Ethan’s actions rescue personnel arrived quickly to treat his father. Ethan knew what to do in an emergency because of the fire and life safety lessons he learned at St. Mary’s School from the Danvers Fire Department S.A.F.E. Program.




¨ Michael Crimmins


On October 11, 2003, 11-year-old Michael was playing outside when he noticed smoke coming from around the chimney. He ran to tell his mom and she told him it was okay – she was just burning some wood in the stove. He told her, “No mom, it’s not right.” Just as she went out to check on what was wrong, around the chimney and roof burst into flames. Mrs. Crimmins called 911 from her cell phone to report the fire. Michael’s Mom believes if it were not for her son, the house may have burned down. Thankfully no one was injured due to Michael recognizing this emergency and pressing his mother.




¨ Kevin Greene


On December 1, 2003, 9-year-old Kevin Greene was at home awaiting the school bus when he saw flames in the 3-season porch. Kevin immediately called 911 to report the fire and went outside to the family meeting place where he met his mother and uncle at the driveway. Kevin learned how to react in an emergency, prior to his family moving to Hanover, while he was a student in Everett from the Everett Fire Department’s S.A.F.E. Program.




¨ Emerald and Amber Kreimendahl


On September 16, 2002, the Kreimendahl sisters, 10-year-old Emerald and 7-year-old Amber, were in their home when they witnessed their mother lose consciousness and begin seizure activity. Emerald dialed 911 to report the emergency while Amber monitored her mother to protect her from harm. When Fire Department personnel arrived on scene Emerald and Amber remained calm and were able to give them important information about their mother’s medical history. The prompt actions that Emerald and Amber took during this emergency had a significant impact on their mother’s health and recovery. Emerald and Amber learned how to dial 911 and what to do in an emergency at the Robinson from the Mansfield Fire Department’s S.A.F.E. Program.


Bethani Romaine


On May 24, 2004, at approximately 7:00 a.m., 8-year-old Bethani Romaine awoke to a strong odor that made her eyes burn and water. Bethani rolled out of bed onto the floor and crawled from her second floor bedroom. She alerted her parents and family members that something was burning. A foam pillow on her brother’s bed had come in contact with a hot night light bulb. Bethani’s family quickly evacuated the house to safety. Bethani learned how to react in a fire emergency at the Robinson Elementary School during a fire safety education class from the Mansfield Fire Department’s S.A.F.E. Program.




¨ Michael Gallotta


On July 1, 2003, 10-year-old Michael Gallotta rescued his 3-year-old sister Paige from the bottom of the family’s swimming pool after she accidentally fell in. Michael learned his life safety skills from the Sterling S.A.F.E. Program.




¨ Jamie Oehley & Megan Fitzgerald


On November 11, 2003, 11-year-olds Jamie Oehley and Megan Fitzgerald were at Jamie’s home when Jamie’s mother was thrown from atop her horse and received a laceration to her head and a severe concussion. Megan immediately dialed 911 for help. Jamie got on the phone and relayed vital information to the dispatcher. Jamie’s mother received prompt medical attention thanks to the quick actions of Megan and Jamie. Jamie and Megan remained calm and knew what to do because of the safety education they received in the Upton/Mendon Regional School system from the Upton Fire Department’s S.A.F.E. Program.


For a complete list of Young Heroes from 1995 to the present, look online at www.mass.gov/dfs/osfm/pubed/youngheroes/.



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