News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

July 30, 1999


Children's Fire Safety Efforts Stepped Up

Poughkeepsie, NY - County Executive William R. Steinhaus announces the County's stepped up efforts in children's fire safety thanks to the partnership between the Dyson Foundation and the County's Fire Prevention Unit. The Dyson Foundation is awarding a grant of $26,500 to be used by the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response to purchase a new Fire Safety Trailer to educate children in fire safety and how to escape a fire in the home.

"As a result of our Fire Prevention Unit's participation at Kids' Expo this year, the Dyson Foundation has awarded the County with this generous grant," Steinhaus noted. "They are in agreement with our core mission to invest in our youth today to produce 'fire safety' aware adults."

A resolution to accept the grant and appropriate the funds in the budget has already been submitted to the Legislature and will be reviewed at its August meeting. "This resolution should receive widespread support in the Legislature," commented Steinhaus. "Teaching children about fire safety is a cause we can all agree on."

The Fire Safety Trailer looks like a house and is designed to teach children about fire safety, especially in the home. The fire safety trailer has simulated three of the most utilized rooms in any home - the living room, kitchen and bedroom. The living room has a log lit fireplace and space heater which are used to teach children proper safety precautions. In the kitchen children are taught to keep combustibles away from the stove and electrical appliances away from water.

Since most fires happen at night, the bedroom is used to demonstrate how children should escape from the home. The Fire Safety Trailer also creates a realistic environment by pumping smoke into the house so children understand why they should stay close to the ground while escaping a fire. Even the bedroom door   heats up to simulate a fire on the other side so children learn to feel the door to make sure it is safe to open.  Once the children hear the fire alarm, they rehearse their home escape plan.

"We will even practice making a call to 911 with them," said Emergency Response Coordinator DeWitt Sagendorph.

"Children are the most frequent victims in house fires," Steinhaus noted. "Each year thousands of children die or become injured because they didn't know how to react to a house fire. In this mobile class room, we will be able to teach both fire prevention as well as what to do when they are faced with a fire. We are very thankful to the Dyson Foundation for supporting our effort in such a generous fashion."

"The time and energy which we invest in our Youth today will help us create a generation of conscientious adults to whom fire safety is second nature," Steinhaus concluded. "Learned habits as children become routine practices as adults."

The Dyson Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established in 1957 by the late Charles H. and Margaret A Dyson. The foundation has four main areas in which it actively awards grants. These include grantmaking in pediatrics and child health, grant programs in the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York State, special initiatives which focus on current issues of interest to the board and grants which articulate current or historical family interests.


County Executive Press Releases