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Fire prevention program credited with saving two lives in New Years Day fire

Two people who escaped a New Years Day fire in Schuyler County are crediting the County’s fire prevention efforts with saving their lives.

The program is called “Learn Not To Burn,” and has been around for more than 40 years in Schuyler, but the teaching in local schools means that students from kindergarten to fourth grade know what to do if there is a fire.

“There’s different topics each month that we cover,” said Odessa Fire Department Deputy Chief and Schuyler County Deputy Fire Coordinator, Rick Churches to WENY-TV. “But we empathize every month smoke detectors and escape plans. It’s a theme we hit every time we’re there.”

A fire broke out on New Years Day along Maple Avenue. A father and son inside were able to escape, thanks at least in part, to their escape plan devised under the “Learn Not To Burn” plan.

“It’s a shot in the arm to us,” Churches added. “It recharges our batteries and we know that we’re doing the right thing. We know they’re getting the message and we know that our fires in the county have been, over the years, down to practically nothing as far as annual fires like we had the other day.”

The program has a tiny cost, at $1.65 per student. It’s funded by the County, and it’s a cost that’s well-worth it after officials hear a story like this one.

“The one single thing that they need to do and work on with their family is to have that escape plan and know what to do,” Churches added. “We want them to be able to react, not to stop and think about it.”

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