SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield firefighters have received a grant to help bring fire safety education to some of the city’s fastest growing populations.
The department is receiving the Rolf Jensen Memorial Public Education Grant, in the amount of $5,000, from the National Fire Protection Association.
The money will be used towards the department’s “Multi-Language Public Education Fire Safety Initiative.” The program’s goal is to reach the city’s growing population of Somali, Russian, Nepali, Vietnamese, and Latino immigrants, along with residents over age 65.
In Springfield, English is spoken as a second language in 34 percent of city homes, higher than the state average of 21 percent. In 2010, unsafe cooking practices or unattended cooking accounted for 61 percent of the city’s residential fires.
The National Fire Protection Association awards the grant to fire departments “to support a community-wide fire and life safety education program or campaign,” according to a statement from the association.
Springfield Fire plans to use a three-pronged approach to measure the program’s success: a before-and-after comparison of volume of emergency responses, instructor evaluations, and a survey which will be completed by residents.