Franklinton department gets Firepup suit through grant

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Firepup suit has given the Franklinton Fire Department a new, kid-friendly aid for its fire prevention programs.

The large suit — a Dalmatian wearing a firefighter’s uniform — was received last month. The purchase was made possible through a $2,000 grant awarded in mid-February by FM Global. The fire department picked up the remaining $995 toward the cost of the suit.

Pam Thomas, the department’s fire prevention officer, applied for the grant in October 2012.

Thomas said the firefighters love the suit. It will be used for fire prevention programs in local schools and when school groups, such as Head Start classes, come to visit the station and tour the trucks.

Fire Prevention Month is in October, and that is when the Firepup suit will see the most use. The suit will be worn during programs and during the Washington Parish Fair parade, Thomas said.

The Bogalusa Fire Department’s Firepup suit has in the past been borrowed for the fair parade, while the fire prevention program is just getting started in Franklinton, Thomas said.

Firepup, the mascot of the National Fire Safety Council, will be a teaching tool to help the firefighters communicate important information to children during programs, Thomas said. It will hold the kids’ attention and, thus, improve fire safety programs.

“It’s going to help greatly,” she said.

Thomas also provided an update on the department’s effort to distribute smoke alarms through the State Fire Marshal’s Operation Save-A-Life program. She said the alarms are available to older adults and single-parent homes in the Franklinton area that do not have a smoke alarm. The fire department installs the alarms.

The department started with 50 smoke alarms and has distributed about half of those. If the alarms run out, residents will be put on a waiting list.

For more information about the program, call the fire department at 839-3515.