Springwater, Wayland, Perkinsville, Atlanta, Cohocton team up with Hornell Lowe's

WAYLAND — Wayland-Cohocton elementary students and their families have received an incredible gift from the area fire departments in the school district — a free 10-year battery-operated smoke detector for their homes.

On Tuesday in Cohocton and Wednesday in Wayland, the elementary students received smoke detectors that were donated by the area fire departments including Atlanta, Cohocton, Perkinsville, Springwater and Wayland. The donation was made possible thanks to Lowe’s Home Improvement, which made a discounted purchase available so that every student in the elementary schools will go home with a unit for their family.

“I would like to say a huge ‘Thank you!’ to the area fire departments and local businesses and organizations that organized and made contributions to this event,” said Cohocton Elementary Principal Adam Button. “In my 13 years of education and 18 years in the fire service, this is one of the largest out-pourings of community support and involvement in fire prevention I have ever witnessed. The efforts put into this event are a true tribute to the area. Smoke detectors save lives! I encourage everyone to install them and make your home a safer place to be!”

The detectors are being disbursed during National Fire Prevention Week when a number of fire safety awareness programs are being held in the schools. Both Wayland and Cohocton elementary schools have assemblies hosted by their local departments focusing on fire safety. At both schools, fire equipment visits so that children can become familiar with the equipment and less scared in the event of an emergency.

Typically during this week, weather permitting, mandatory safety drills are also conducted across the district. This year is marked by this particularly generous gift — making the homes of some of our youngest children, and their families, a safer place to live.

“I am humbled by the concerted effort of our community agencies to seek ways to elevate their support of our school community,” said Wayland Elementary Principal Theresa Carhart. “Hats off to our local fire departments and Lowe’s Home Improvement for partnering to make our Fire Prevention Program a success. I am confident our students will proudly bring home a resource that will help elevate safety in their home.”

The project came about as Springwater Fire Chief Mike Edwards was looking at different fire prevention giveaways and educational materials.

“While the products have good intentions, the return on the investment in making an actual difference in fire safety just wasn’t there,” said Edwards.

The five departments, Springwater, Wayland, Perkinsville, Atlanta and Cohocton, in the Wayland-Cohocton school district have always provided age-appropriate fire prevention seminars, fire station tours and equipment visits at the school.

The organizations met earlier in the year and agreed to pursue finding a way to provide smoke detectors to all of the elementary families in the district. With the change in the law requiring a 10-year battery life on detectors, the price of the project escalated quickly, from about $5 per detector to $17 per detector. The fire department volunteers went to the community to seek support and had 100 percent of those that were asked contribute toward the project. Working with Lowe’s of Hornell, the departments were able to bulk-purchase 600 detectors at a reduced cost, making it possible to distribute over 500 detectors to every elementary child.

The smoke detectors are accompanied with a flier to assist families with proper installation of the detectors. The flier also lists telephone numbers of the area departments and personnel in each community. Families having difficulty with the installation of a smoke detector are encouraged to contact the numbers for assistance.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” said Springwater Chief Mike Edwards. “I urge families to install the detectors as soon as possible. If you are in need of any assistance, we are here for you! Be safe!”

As families install their smoke detectors, they are encouraged to share their pictures using #wcsafeeagles on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook to show the community fire departments what their gift means to the families and children.

This generous donation is brought to the Wayland-Cohocton families through the efforts of the Atlanta Fire Fire Department, Cohocton Fire Department, Perkinsville Fire Department, Springwater Fire Department, Wayland Fire Department, Wayland Fire District and Lowe’s Home Improvement of Hornell. The project would not be possible without the following community partners: Kern Robinson Post 905 Springwater, Springwater Rod and Gun Club, MES - Tom Harrington, Wayland American Legion, Cohocton Wind, B&B Enterprises, Cohocton Lions, T&J Auto, Baird’s Funeral Home, Matthews & Fields Lumber, The Olde Country Store and More, Wayland Rotary, Cohocton EMS, Springwater Amish Workshop, Community Bank, Springwater United Methodist Church, Dollars & Sense Pizza, Springwater Church of the Nazarene, St. George Forsythe Funeral Home and Flick Farms.