Fire safety seminar heads to Limestone

Grant provides escape ladders

     CARIBOU and LIMESTONE, Maine — Thanks to a State Farm grant of $11,000, Cary Medical Center is bringing programs on fire safety to Aroostook County locations.

     The next seminar will take place in Limestone tonight, June 22, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Office.

     Individuals attending the free sessions can register to receive a free fire escape ladder. Events will be presented in all six “Healthy You” communities; Caribou was the first. Others are planned in Fort Fairfield, Washburn, Van Buren and Presque Isle.

     State Farm awarded the grant to increase public awareness of fire prevention and fire safety. The program will purchase fire safety ladders for individuals who live in two-story homes. The ladders hang from a second-story window and drop down to provide a means of escape.

     Bill Flagg, director of community relations and development at Cary, said the project is an extension of the Home Fire Preparedness initiative that began in 2015.

     “Over this past year, working with a number of volunteers, local fire departments and the Red Cross, we have installed more than 1,000 smoke detectors,” said Flagg. “Local fire departments have been great, along with volunteers from Loring Job Corps, students from Northern Maine Community College, Red Cross volunteers and others.

     “We know that this effort is saving lives and thanks to State Farm we are going to help create safer homes throughout Aroostook County,” he said.

     With the grant funds, the hospital will purchase 100 safety ladders. They will be available to private residential homeowners on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify for a ladder, individuals must attend a fire safety seminar and schedule an appointment for an orientation to utilizing the ladder at their home.

     Jonathan Cote, a firefighter and chairman of the board, American Red Cross of Northern and Eastern Maine, instructs the seminars. He said the ladders can be real lifesavers.

     “No one ever wants to be in a fire,” he said, “but if a fire does occur and you are trapped on the second floor of your home, the safety ladder can make the difference between surviving the fire and being lost.

   “Our seminars not only discuss the use of the safety ladders, we also discuss a number of fire prevention and fire safety issues. This grant from State Farm will go a long way to make people more aware of things they can do to reduce the risk of a fire tragedy,” Cote said.

    Jennifer Young, with State Farm’s Public Affairs Department, praised the hospital’s efforts to increase public awareness on fire safety.

     “We know how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected and we are honored to partner with Cary Medical Center,” said Young. “Protecting families before they need us is just as important as being there when they need us.”

     The S. W. Collins Company of Caribou is providing the ladders at their cost and storing them in their Caribou warehouse. WAGM Television is helping to support the effort by providing public service announcements promoting the fire safety seminars. Local State Farm Agents may also be involved in helping to distribute the ladders.

     For more information and to register for the program, call Cary at 498-1112 or email