A picture’s worth 1,000 words when it comes to fire safety

The Southington Fire Department honored this year’s fire prevention and safety poster winners at SFD headquarters on Jan. 17. From left, former SFD chief Buddy Clark, Lillian Rathbun (5th grade winner), Maya Kasica (4th grade winner), and SFD fire inspector Robert Hunt.

The Southington Fire Department announced this year’s winners in the Connecticut fire prevention poster contest, and this year’s local champions both advanced to claim the top regional prize for Hartford County.

The annual event is open to students throughout the state in grades 4 and 5. Contestants are challenged to create a poster to promote fire prevention and fire safety with the theme of “fire prevention—everyone, everyday.” Approximately 30,000 students from 130 communities took part in the event, sponsored by the Connecticut Fire Marshals Association, Connecticut Department of Energy & Environment Protection, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, State Board of Education, and the Connecticut Fair Plan, that represents the insurance industry.

Southington’s first place winners include Maya Kasica, a fourth grader at Kelly Elementary School and Lillian Rathbun, a fifth grader at Plantsville Elementary School. Both went on to capture first place finishes in the Hartford County competition.

Local winners were awarded $75 during a ceremony at the Southington Fire Department headquarters on Jan. 17. County winners receive additional checks for $150 and are invited to attend a special luncheon in their honor in March, at which time the state winner will be announced. State winners receive a check for $750 with a $500 grant awarded to the winner’s school.

Honorable Mention winners received various gifts donated by local restaurants, businesses, and merchants.

Fire Inspector Robert Hunt coordinates the event each year in cooperation with the teachers at the participating schools. All eight public and two private elementary schools were encouraged to participate. Several of the top posters will be on display on the first and second floor of the Town Hall and the lower floor of the John Weichsel Municipal Center during the next 30 days.

Local sponsors for the event are Apple Valley Bowling, Cava Restaurant, Family Pizza Restaurant, Manor Inn Restaurant, Moe’s Restaurant, Play It Again Sports, Sassy Mama Sweets & Eats, Shop Rite, Southington Fire Fighters Local 2033, Southington Mini Diner, and Spartan II Restaurant.

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