LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Board of Supervisors are setting their sights on a federal grant centered around fire education.
The grant would fund a position for the county to teach fire prevention and safety, according to Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits.
"The board has approved for the fire coordinator to apply for a fire safety educator position," Waits said.
That vote was passed 5-0 by the board.
"It's about a $162,000 grant over a three year period, and the grant would cover 90 percent of the cost," Waits said. "It would be salaries, office administrative, internet, etc., which would leave the county's part, over three years, only $18,000."
Waits said with that type of savings, as well as the grant funding, more tools could be used in the education process.
"The educator would be responsible for overseeing education of the children as well as the senior citizens, now we have a fire safety training trailer now that the fire departments can use for training," said Waits. "This position would provide us someone who would oversee all that and take that into the schools more often and to help to begin to train children and really change generations of lives by fire safety."
Waits said there are thousands of kids in the county and the more they are educated, the better.
"Children were taught stop, drop and roll, and you know we found that they process things differently to the point that you ask a kid what he might do when his house is on fire, he's going to tell you, 'I'm going to stop, drop and roll,' which is not appropriate," said Waits.
He said changing the culture of what kids are taught, can save lives.
"So, we need to teach them the ways that they can remain safe, we typically would lose children, or seniors to fires, and these are the vulnerable populations that we want to educate," said Waits.
He said it is still in the early stages, but said they are hopeful for getting the grant.
"This is the very early stages, but we found with grants, if you don't get ahead and apply before you need it, you're not likely to get it," Waits said. "So this is the very early stage, we're hopeful that we can get it."