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The Athens Fire Department is teaching fire safety to children through a program called Firepup

A fundraising effort is underway to get more of the materials used in the program.

“It's an ongoing program that we have,” Fire Chief Russell Marshall said. “

In cooperation with our department, you will be providing fire safety education materials to be distributed in schools, safety fairs, public safety presentations, and fire stations.

The materials have been designed exclusively by the National Fire Safety Council, Inc. Under the organization's charter the materials must be paid for by charitable donations.

The program offers age-specific, 24-page activity manuals, pamphlets on smoke detectors, fire escapes, babysitting, badges, stickers and many other items used to teach the fundamentals of fire safety and burn prevention.

“We strongly believe that through this partnership with National Fire Safety Council, Inc. we can keep our children safe from tragic loss and death,” Chief Russell Marshall said.

To help cover the cost, the Athens Fire Department and the National Fire Safety Council, Inc., are turning to community leaders to sponsor. materials for the students in their communities..

In 1986, National Fire Safety Council, Inc.developed Firepup, a friendly Dalmatian cartoon character, make learning about fire and burn prevention and life safety issues, fun, entertaining, and non-threatening.

You can contact AFD at 903-677-6636 for donation information. The current fundraising effort runs through June 28.

In recent years, AFD has used new and innovative techniques to reach the youth with fire prevention methods and what to do in case of fire. In 2017, AFD introduced a puppet show where firefighters taught children to stop, drop and roll and also cover their faces if their clothes catch fire. The puppeteers perform to pre-recorded audio that includes speaking parts and songs.