Thank you to all of the people who have made contributions to fire departments across the United States!
If you've made a contribution and would like us to mention your gift on NFPA's Safety Source blog, please send us an e-mail with the details (your name, city/town, the name of the department you contributed to, the items you contributed, and why you decided to get involved with Sparky's Wish List). If you want to include a photo of yourself, please do so!
When budgets are cut - public education is one of the first areas that is reduced or eliminated
“It's incumbent on fire departments to do everything we can to prevent fire and loss of life. By targeting all age groups for fire prevention in the past, I'm sure we have prevented many fires over the years as well as preventing injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, fire safety materials are expensive. Our budgets have been cut to the bone and public education is one of the first areas that is reduced or eliminated.
"If we could obtain fire safety materials, we could certainly use them. I appreciate what NFPA is trying to do with Sparky's Wish List, and it makes sense. By relying on the public to invest in the materials, more would be available for us to use locally. If the concept works, if awareness is raised in our community to support fire safety education, it would be fabulous."
Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Tappe
Fire safety education provides hope
In 2003, Kathy Lamont lost her 10-year-old son in a house fire. Her husband and older son escaped. Kathy, at work when the fire struck, sought to ease her grief by becoming a firefighter and fire safety educator.
She says, "I've found my true calling. I can make sure children are aware of what to do if fire should strike. And I know the kids in my community are listening. Students who I've taught at school often approach me with stories about testing smoke alarms. When I ask them what they'll do if they must escape through smoke, they'll say, ‘I'm going to get low and go under the smoke to my way out!’ That's exactly what I need to hear. A tragedy in my life opened up a door for others to learn what to do in a fire emergency. Fire safety education is my favorite part of the job because it gives me hope."
Firefighter and fire safety educator
Madison Lake, MN
Home fire escape plan put to the test
In 2010, the Dickerson family woke to the sound of the smoke alarms in their apartment building. Mrs. Dickerson was the first to wake and she woke her husband and two children, ages 6 and 9. When Mr. Dickerson woke his children, smoke was filling the family’s apartment. The family had to get low and go under the smoke to escape. The smoke was so thick; they were not able to use the door leading to the building’s hallway. The children were disoriented and scared during the escape; however, they were able to follow directions to escape safely. The family ended up going to the sliding door and balcony to escape. The family was assisted off the balcony to safety.
Mr. Dickerson reported that his children always reminded him to change the battery in the smoke alarm when it chirped. Both children participated in Fire Prevention Week activities at school. The younger child’s activity was to make a home fire escape with their parents and to practice it. The plan included a meeting place and primary and secondary escape routes.
The Dickerson Family
New Lenox, IL