Firefighters adopt new fire safety mascot

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LEVANT, Maine (WABI) -- After a young boy died in a fire in Hermon, Maine a couple of years ago, the Levant Fire Department decided to put together a program targeting fire safety.

So firefighters say when a photo of a pet being saved from that fire went viral, they came up with an idea to make the pug their mascot.

They created their own "Spark Pug, Pug of Safety Prevention Program" for their community. The concept is to teach people, especially young people, some simple lessons in prevention they can easily remember. P-U-G stands for Plan your escape, Understand and Get out safely.

The department was recently awarded a $2,000 grant to help get Spark Pug up and running.

"House fires now, you only have seconds to get out and time is of the essence. If we could teach kids to have a plan, practice it, understand that plan and then get out safely and if it can save one life, to us, that's huge," said Fire Chief Eric Strout.

Firefighter Rob King adds, "Having a plan is critical. Practicing the plan, that's the big thing. You tell all these kids that, but to get them to go home and do this with their parents, that's huge."

This week, Levant firefighters are taking Spark Pug to different schools for Fire Prevention Week, but they hope to one day open Pug Academy right there at the station.

"And teach them fire safety in the fire department and put them through Pug Academy and kind of, take that little mascot that in a time of what was very traumatic to us and we can turn and teach others and hopefully, have impact in their lives," Strout said.

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