NEW FAIRFIELD - Pot handles dangle dangerously over an electric cooker.

A microwave unit is placed beyond easy reach over a stove in the kitchen. Harmful detergents and other household cleaners are stored in cupboards that have no childproof locks. Everyday hazards that can cause fire and injury to children and adults at home are the focus of a new mobile learning center the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department
hopes to buy this year. "It's something we've always wanted," volunteer firefighter Richard Schretzenmayer said Wednesday."So far, we've had to rent one, but now it's time we had one of our own." Schretzenmayer, who is heading up a drive to buy the center, said the project will cost around $32,000. The department kicks off the drive Saturday with a Celtic Valentine concert and magic show inside the
New Fairfield High School
auditorium. The training center is built inside a vehicle called a Scotty Fire Safety House that already is used by more than 1,030 other fire departments nationwide. "Anything that can help us raise public awareness of potential dangers in the home is important," said John Muller , a volunteer fireman who is also New Fairfield's director of emergency management. The safety house, which is designed like a camping trailer and can be towed to various sites, is equipped with a small kitchen, living room and bedroom. Inside the vehicle, lessons are taught about the dangers of fire and injury caused by both negligence and ignorance. "There's a set-up in the living room, for example, that demonstrates the hazards of having too many plugs and extension cords," said Muller. Other design options for the vehicle simulate emergency situations, such as earthquakes, to teach people how to prepare for the real thing. Muller said the vehicle would become part of the department's fire prevention program and be used for teaching in schools and public events. "One of our major concerns is that a lot of people think emergencies such as tornadoes can't happen in New Fairfield," said Muller. "Our job is to increase public awareness and education as much as we can." Ÿ The Celtic Valentine concert and magic show will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the New Fairfield High School auditorium. For more information about the safety house project, call (203) 746-5428.

Contact Brian Saxton


or at (203) 731-3332.