By A.M. Sheehan
PARIS — Keiser Homes of Oxford has donated a bottle donation building to the Paris Fire Department to help it raise funds necessary to expand its fire prevention education effort.
The building, located to the right of the fire station, is where residents and others can bring returnable bottles and cans so that the fire department can get the deposits back. Those deposits will help fund more fire prevention education outside of what is already budgeted, explained Zac Creps, fire prevention officer for the PFD.
“We want to make sure we have fire prevention training, not just for children but for elderly as well as all citizens,” he said.
“Currently we go to schools and have held out first open house,” he continued. “We want to hold one [open house] next year and these funds will help.
“Chief [Brad] Frost and my plan is to eventually fund all fire prevention activities through donations … not just the bottles but donations from individuals and businesses as well.”
“We are trying to offset the budget,” said Frost, “and fund a better fire prevention program.”
Many, Creps said, think prevention is just handing out [fire] hats and stickers. But it is much more than that.
“There’s a huge education piece,” he said.
The education portion includes information on smoke detectors, not playing with fire (or matches), safe practices, what to do in the case of a fire and preplanning, which includes arranging a meeting place, identifying exits and ensuring they are not blocked.
Further, Creps said, the town and department have a program for people who cannot afford smoke detectors.
“There’s a form on the town website, at the town office and at the fire station that people can fill out and we will supply them with a smoke detector,” Creps explained.
This program is funded through the department’s fire prevention program and through donations. In particular, Creps noted, donations from Aubuchon Hardware and the Oxford federal Credit Union.
With the expanded fire prevention program Creps said they hope to offer carbon monoxide detectors as well.
Creps wants the public to know the firehouse is always open for tours for people of all ages. Further, day care facilities and schools that want to have a tour and get involved in fire prevention should contact the department by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The department is also looking into becoming certified in child safety seat inspection.
“We want to expand our prevention program to year-round instead of once a year [during Fire Prevention Week],” he said. “We want to offer prevention education to the elderly and to businesses for employees. Fire extinguisher training and exit plans would be included.”
Creps noted that the town and the department owes a debt of gratitude for all the donations received from local businesses for its first open house.
“We had more than 200 attend,” he said.