All signs point to fire prevention week
Jaffrey: Fire department, schoolwork to spread the word
An entry for the Fire Prevention Week poster contest held for Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School by the Jaffrey Police Department. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
An "out of the box" entry for the Fire Prevention Week poster contest held for Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School by the Jaffrey Police Department. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Jaffrey Fire Chief David Chamberlain, left, stands with poster Jaffery-Rindge Middle School Fire Prevention Week poster contest third place winner Shyanne Forrest, first place winner Nicole Bowser, and second place winner Isabella Weeks. JRMS art teacher Zelda Alibozek stands on the right with her students. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
JAFFREY — What better way to learn about preventing kitchen fires than having your firefighters cook you breakfast?
That’s just what the Jaffrey Fire Department did on Sunday. Keeping in tradition with the past 20 years, the department held a breakfast and open house to kick off New Hampshire’s Fire Prevention Week: Prevent Kitchen Fires, which runs through Oct. 12. The theme for this year comes from recent research by the National Fire Protection Association, which shows that cooking is the lead cause of fires in the home. According to those findings, two out of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, more than anywhere else in the home.
Firefighter Michael Greenough, who is a lifelong resident of Jaffrey and has been with the department since 1996, was pleased with the breakfast. “It went very well,” he said, commenting on the large turnout of 511 people. “We fit everybody at tables in the bay and the meeting room, though people could have eaten off the floor, which is very clean thanks to Chief Chamberlain.” Greenough also mentioned his colleagues, Capt. Chris Bergeron and Lt. Andy Baranowski, who, according to Greenough, “were the heart and soul of the breakfast.”
In addition to food, the department had ready for town residents fire trucks and rescue equipment, Sparky the Fire Dog, a photo booth and visitors from the Sea Cadets — a youth group run by the U.S. Naval Corps — and the Red Knights, a national firemen’s motorcycle group promoting safety. There was also a new component to the breakfast this year: a Fire Prevention Week poster contest for students at Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School.
According to Greenough, the department received 63 entries for the contest. While most of the posters had to do with this year’s theme and depicted staying in the kitchen while cooking, some were more out of the box and showed various situations in which one should stop, drop, and roll. The men in the department narrowed the posters down to the top three before Sunday, and then the breakfast guests voted on the winners. Eighth grader Nicole Bowser won the competition, with sixth grader Isabella Weeks in second place and eighth grader Shyanne Forrest claiming the third spot.
“The kids had a really great time,” said Greenough.
Educating children is a focus for Jaffrey Fire Chief David Chamberlain. According to Greenough, Chamberlain works with young kids to not be afraid of firemen and their big gear, and with older kids, teaching lessons about not lighting matches and calling 911 in a fire emergency.
The department also works with high school students. From Oct. 15 to 18, Jaffrey firefighters will be at Conant High School during the last period of each day to teach CPR and First Aid to a total of 107 students. This will be the third year the department has offered the programs.
In an effort to reach out to the wider community, the department also set up a table at Jaffrey Town Library, offering fire prevention information and pamphlets to interested residents. Among this year’s most prominent tips will be: Staying in the kitchen while cooking; keeping children and pets away from the stove; cleaning up spilled food and grease after cooking; and keeping away objects like pot holders, bags, wooden utensils, and anything else that can burn on a stove top. The table of information at the library will remain there until Oct. 11.
Though Fire Prevention Week technically lasts seven days, it embodies what the Jaffrey Fire Department makes an effort to do each day. “Chief Chamberlain is a real driving force behind fire prevention and community safety,” Greenough said.