Featured Local NewsSpotlight

Bus Donated To Enhance Local Safety Education

Fort Wayne Community Schools donated a school bus to the Fort Wayne Fire Department and the Fort Wayne Police Department. The bus will be used at Safety Village to educate students about how to evacuate a bus safely during a fire or accident.

Safety Village, located at 1270 S. Phoenix Parkway, combines both police and fire safety educational curriculums in one location, teaching children about safety in a way they can understand. This unique 3.7 acre complex is the largest one of its kind in the country. The picturesque village, constructed in 1991, consists of 30 miniature buildings and a downtown area incorporating 16 structures.

Programs are offered, with both classroom and field activities included, free of charge to all area public and private schools. During the school year, the Fort Wayne Police Department offers safety programs dealing with pedestrian safety and stranger awareness, structured for kindergarten-aged children. The Fort Wayne Fire Department instructs primarily third grade students, along with other special interest groups, on how to escape from a burning home.

“The Fort Wayne Fire Department has a long history of partnership with Fort Wayne Community Schools and educating our community’s youth about fire safety,” said Fire Chief Eric Lahey. “We’re excited about this opportunity to expand our programming at Safety Village and about the new ways in which this long-standing partnership will continue to grow. With the donation of this school bus, we can educate the thousands of children who come through Safety Village each year about safely evacuating a school bus during an emergency.”

“The FWPD is grateful to FWCS for donating such a valuable piece of equipment to help us teach safety to kids.” said Police Chief Scott Caudill. “It’s partnerships like these that make our community safer and a great place to live.”

The Survive Alive House, also part of Safety Village, uses state of the art special effects to simulate an actual house fire without any real danger. During the summer, programs are also offered for the general public. Families, scouting groups, neighborhood associations, home school groups, businesses, and any other interested groups, are all encouraged to visit the Safety Village/ Survive Alive House. Tours can be scheduled by contacting the Fort Wayne Fire Department Safety Education Division at 260-427-1483 or 260-427-5179.

After a tragic house fire claimed the lives of four children in 1979, the local Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA) wanted to help prevent a repeat of this tragedy. They partnered with the FWFD in an effort to promote smoke detectors as a first line of defense in all residential dwellings.

After a successful promotion, which led to no fire deaths in Fort Wayne the following year, the local PTA got the state PTA involved in a statewide smoke detector campaign. The PTA also felt the project’s ultimate goal, saving lives, could be enhanced by the construction of a Survive Alive House. Initially, however, the Indiana City Fire Departments of Mishawaka, Hammond and Valparaiso were the first to construct Survive Alive Houses. Meanwhile in 1988, Fort Wayne Police Officer Don Wismer obtained a commitment from Southtown Mall to lease 4 acres to the City of Fort Wayne for the construction of a new Safety Village to replace the dilapidated village in downtown Fort Wayne.

At this time the dream of Fort Wayne having its own Survive Alive House seemed like a real possibility. As Officer Wismer was obtaining private funding for the Safety Village, the FWFD and local PTA were attempting to accomplish the same for the construction of the Survive Alive House. Eventually the magnitude of the project led to the forming of a fundraising committee consisting of the FWFD, the FWPD, the local PTA and the City of Fort Wayne. Four years later, with absolutely no public funds, the Survive Alive House and Safety Village were constructed and open to the public.

The total cost and construction of the Survive Alive House, nearly $100,000, was provided by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and was actually the largest single donation of any group involved in the Safety Village construction. As of this date the Associated Builder and Contractors group is still actively involved in the maintenance and improvements at the Survive Alive House.

The Waynedale News Staff
Latest posts by The Waynedale News Staff (see all)

The Waynedale News Staff

Our in-house staff works with community members and our local writers to find, write and edit the latest and most interesting news-worthy stories. We are your free community newspaper, boasting positive, family friendly and unique news. > Read More Information About Us > More Articles Written By Our Staff