the Fire Safety Dog Teaches
Fire & Life Safety to Children & Adults
Back to School means it's time to brush up on Fire Safety!
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To request Jake the Fire Safety Dog and the E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety team to visit your school, contact our office at (269) 978-4400 option 1 or e-mail
the fire safety dog, a black Labrador retriever service canine, is the
first service canine to be used exclusively to teach children
about fire and life safety. As an English version of the black lab, Jake
is more refined and low-key with children than some other breeds. He has
his own photo identification, is licensed as a working service animal,
and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and ADA as
a working service canine, with his sole purpose being public education,
since dogs could be used as agents of terrorism.
April 2007, Scott D. Maker and Michael McLeieer became handlers of Jake
and added him to their non-profit public charity, E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. (Education
Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations).
Jake’s primary handler and trainer, Maker spends two hours each day teaching
Jake how to act out messages such as "crawl low under smoke", "get out
and stay out", and "stop, drop and roll."
teaches children about fire and life safety in both the Great Lakes and
New England regions including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, and
New Hampshire. Our goal of teaching children in these regions is to be
proactive rather than reactive. We work with area fire departments and
go into schools and daycare centers, utilizing our own customized age appropriate
lesson plans, to teach and reinforce these positive messages. Jake is just
one way to teach those messages, but his presence has helped the educational
community to welcome the program with open arms.
the winter months, the lessons include ice and cold water safety, such
as never venturing onto thin ice. In the spring, students learn about topics
like bicycle helmet safety and stranger danger. Jake is also used to teach
children never to go up to a strange animal without adult supervision.
has learned to demonstrate making the "right choice", such as not hiding
under a bed if there is fire or smoke conditions (applicable for younger
children) and not using tobacco products that could result in fires (for
will be able to work as a service dog until he is 10 to 12 years old, when
typical hip and joint problems will likely interfere with his demonstrations.
in a name?
wanted a term that related to firefighting, and the term "Jake" is a New
England-derived slang term for a firefighter. This word was first used
as a reference to firefighters in the early 20th century in the Greater
Boston area. It is now a widely accepted term in the fire service and exclusively
used to bestow great praise and the highest level of respect. To be called
a “Good Jake” is the highest form of praise a Boston area fire fighter
can possibly receive from a peer.
October 3, 2007, Jake, Maker & McLeieer were in an elementary school
in Merrimac, Massachusetts, teaching a preschool class about fire and life
safety. Jake was very popular with the children, including 4-year-old Jack
Gilbert. That evening, Jack Gilbert’s house filled with 4 feet of thick
smoke due to a fire in the family’s wood stove.
remembered the lessons he learned earlier that day and lead his family
outside to safety to their designated meeting place. Jack learned GET OUT
and STAY OUT during Jake’s demonstration from his class earlier in the
day. In fact, Jack’s mother wanted to re-enter the house to retrieve the
family’s bird, but Jack prevented her from doing so by saying, "Mommy,
you’re suppose to be with me." On December 3, 2007, Jack was honored as
a Massachusetts Young Hero by Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen
D. Coan for remembering what to do during an emergency situation.
will continue to utilize Jake in assisting to deliver our fire & life
safety and juvenile firesetter intervention programs, including reaching
out to audiences with disabilities, such as autism and hearing impairments.
Jake has even learned sign language commands so he is able to reach out
to more target groups.
addition, Jake demonstrates the following messages:
Fall & crawl under smoke *
Get out & stay out *
Whisper (inside voice vs. outside voice) *
How to be a helper *
How to stretch before exercising *
Know two ways out *
Stop, drop & roll *
What is a tool and what is a toy *
Waive to his audiences on command *
Sit, speak, whisper, & stay - following sign language commands
Jake & his primary handler and trainer Scott D. Maker are members of
the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers.