Safety Village

The Safety Village

The Safety Village teaches our children about safety in a way they can understand. Fort Wayne is fortunate to have this unique 3.7 acre complex, the largest one of its kind in the 20180621 101150country. The picturesque village, constructed in 1991, consists of 30 miniature buildings and a downtown area DriveWithCareincorporating 16 structures. This miniature city, fascinating to both young and old, is located at 1270 South Phoenix Parkway on the city's southeast side directly behind Southtown Centre. This facility combines both police and fire safety educational curriculums in one location.

Programs are offered, with both classroom and field activities included, free of charge to all area public and private schools. During the school year, the Fort Wayne Police Department offers safety programs dealing with pedestrian safety and stranger awareness, structured for kindergarten-aged children. The Fort Wayne Fire Department instructs primarily third grade students, along with other special interest groups, on how to escape from a burning home. The Survive Alive House uses state of the art special effects to simulate an actual house fire without any real danger.  During the summer, programs are also offered for the general public. Families, scouting groups, neighborhood associations, home school groups, businesses, and any other interested groups, are all encouraged to visit the Safety Village/ Survive Alive House. Tours can be scheduled by contacting the Fort Wayne Fire Department Safety Education Division at 260-427-1483 or 260-427-5179.

 The Survive Alive House

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The Fort Wayne Fire Department's Survive Alive House is a full-size, two-story residential structure equipped with state of the art special effects to simulate a real house fire. The special effects include: flashing strobe lighting to simulate fire burning, a bedroom door equipped with coils inside the door which can be heated via pumped in water to simulate a door becoming hot from exposure to fire, sound effects of an actual fire burning and non-toxic "smoke" from a fog machine which permeates a portion of the house. In conjunction with the special effects of the house, burned and melted items from actual house fires are on display for an added element of realism.

History of the House

altAfter a tragic house fire claimed the lives of four children in 1979, the local Parent Teacher's Association (PTA) wanted to help prevent a repeat of this tragedy. They partnered with the Fort Wayne Fire Department in an effort to promote smoke detectors as a first line of defense in all residential dwellings.

After a successful promotion, which led to no fire deaths in Fort Wayne the following year, the local PTA got the state PTA involved in a statewide smoke detector campaign. The PTA also felt the project's ultimate goal, saving lives, could be enhanced by the construction of a Survive Alive House. Initially, however, the Indiana City Fire Departments of Mishawaka, Hammond and Valparaiso were the first to construct Survive Alive Houses. Meanwhile in 1988, Fort Wayne Police Officer Don Wismer obtained a commitment from Southtown Mall to lease 4 acres to the City of Fort Wayne for the construction of a new Safety Village to replace the dilapidated village in downtown Fort Wayne.

At this time the dream of Fort Wayne having its own Survive Alive House seemed like a real possibility. As Officer Wismer was obtaining private funding for the Safety Village, the FWFD and local PTA were attempting to accomplish the same for the construction of the Survive Alive House. Eventually the magnitude of the project led to the forming of a fundraising committee consisting of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, the Fort Wayne Police Department, the local PTA and the City of Fort Wayne. Four years later, with absolutely no public funds, the Survive Alive House and Safety Village were constructed and open to the public.The total cost and construction of the Survive Alive House, nearly $100,000, was provided by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and was actually the largest single donation of any group involved in the Safety Village construction. As of this date the Associated Builder and Contractors group is still actively involved in the maintenance and improvements at the Survive Alive House.

One member of the group, Dean R. Hall Electric, Inc. has been instrumental in helping keep the Survive Alive House in operational order with donations of products and labor.

Hang and Drop Method Escaping from Survive Alive HouseOperation: During the school year all the third grade students in the area will take part in the Survive Alive program. The two-hour field trip consists of classroom time for discussion and viewing of videos while the hands on portion consists of two separate escapes from the Survive Alive House. The children will experience the decision making processes needed in an actual house fire emergency without the serious consequences connected to a mistake in a real situation.

All participants will have the opportunity to escape from a second story bedroom window via a home escape ladder or using the "hang and drop" technique, escaping down an interior set of stairs in darkness under "fake" smoke and past "fake" fire, proceeding to a specified meeting place and making an actual emergency phone call to report a fire at their house.

During the summer months and after school hours, the house is open to any other group or families that would like to schedule a session. Tours can be scheduled by contacting the Fort Wayne Fire Department Safety Education Division at 260-427-1483 or 260-427-5179.

Download the Survive Alive House activity book for you and your family to do together. It’s never too soon to teach your children about fire safety.