You might remember that I asked if you guys wouldn’t mind taking a fire safety quiz.
The quiz was sponsored by Kidde and was a quick and easy set of questions geared toward reminding you to be fire safe.
Which, has become a bit of a passion of mine. I started working with Kidde a while back, and after learning how devastatingly often there are fatal fires (where there were actually smoke alarms in the home…they just had dead batteries and/or didn’t work) in this country AND HOW COTTON PICKIN EASY it is to cut that risk, I can’t help but want to shout it from the rooftops.
We can’t wrap ourselves and our families in bubble wrap, but to risk life over not taking the three minutes to check some batteries is a downright SHAME. For reals.
Well, because you guys are the best readers in the history of all readers (and I’m SO not kidding), many of you obliged, took the quiz, and of all the bloggers playing along, WE WON! More of YOU took the quiz than the readers of any other participating blogger.
I got to donate 150 smoke alarms to my local fire department!
This was all fine and great and such, and then my contact at Kidde was all “Hey, want to go to the department and do a little bit of an event? We can even contact your local media to cover the story?”
Yeah. That’s way outside of my wheelhouse. I might be a blogger, but I like it BEHIND the screen thankyouverymuch. An Instagram selfie? Sure. But the self-promotion buck stops there.
That being said, I’ve been meaning to take my kids to visit the fire department for a million years. You might remember a post I wrote about the toll our 911 calls take on the other kids and how scary that can be for them. Many of you wisely suggested a visit to the fire department during a non-crisis. So this event could be two birds. One stone.
I nervously typed back “Okay. We will go. But no need to call the newspaper. Please.”
I convinced a family friend to come along and snap some photos. Jamie graciously agreed and donated his own time and talents to capture our time there so beautifully. Thank you Mr. Foster. You are appreciated.
We were all a bit apprehensive at first.
I mean, what would we say? What would we talk about?
Would it be awkward?
Oh please don’t let it be awkward.
Awkward is the worst.
But guess what?
It was zero percent awkward.
In fact, it was SO FUN.
The kids were given little plastic fire hats and got to sit in the big fire truck.
The firemen were so friendly and great with the kids. Answering questions. Hoisting them up and down out of the giant truck.
Everyone got a turn.
Since we were there, I figured it was a good a time as any to introduce ourselves. Let them know that they would probably come to our house sometime. That this girl has epilepsy and we very much appreciate who they are and what they do…for our family. Specifically.
Little did I know that a week and a half later, they would be rumbling up our little narrow road.
I mentioned that I had been meaning to come by to show the big kids that firemen are Helpers and not scary. That the trucks are loud, but Good.
Without hesitation, one of the guys pulled out his entire suit, mask and all, to show the kids.
I’m SO glad we went.
So glad these two met the oh so friendly faces behind all the gear and flashing lights.
This girl was ENAMORED with all of the gear.
She kept motioning and saying “on” to try on this coat.
Except that it probably weighed more than she does. Maybe in a few years baby girl.
Enthralled, I tell ya.
She probably spent half an hour with this guy.
Not that I blame her. Ahem.
And he was so patient and kind with her.
I just kept thinking “I’m so glad we came. I’m so glad we came.”
I mean, really.
A nicer group of people you couldn’t find.
The kids loved it and I kinda think the department loved them right back.
There was some weight lifting.
Because fire guys gotsta be buff and such.
This guy was pretty confident he could lift this.
As guys are.
The blonde in a ruffled shirt and glitter flip flops wanted a try too.
And then this happened.
And she was so proud of herself.
And I was trying so hard not to cry because YOU GUYS.
I’m not sure of the right words to describe how stuff like this makes me feel, except to say that I am acutely aware of the fact that in many cultures and many countries EVEN TODAY she would have been cast off and considered worthless.
And to see complete strangers value her and embrace her and treat her with dignity and respect…it makes my heart both swell with thankfulness and break into a million pieces for the others who do not live this.
Life is so complicated.
They even had a little spread of cookies and juice for us.
But mostly I just included this picture because she was having such a good hair day.
And there was our donation.
Boxes and boxes of smoke alarms.
And I was deep breathing and trying to hold it together when the Fire Chief thanked us for the donation.
He went on to explain that they often check the smoke alarms in homes of the elderly when they go out on medical calls. Once they’ve made sure everything is secure, they do a courtesy check. And in most cases, have to replace the batteries and/or the entire unit.
AND THEY JUST RAN OUT.
Here’s the most PR-ish thing I did.
Gah. I want to die. Even now.
Also, when they DID come to our house a week and a half later when Jill had a seizure, not a one of the guys who responded was one of these guys. Which I thought was kinda funny. I was sitting on the school room floor next to my girl as the EMT set her up with an IV and kept looking for a familiar face, to no avail. What are the odds?
As we were getting ready to head out, they got a call.
Which was ALL KINDS of exciting to see it all come together.
The guys all loaded up, the rumble of the truck turning on, the lights going, the door rolling up.
Except that it meant someone was having a bad day, so it was exciting but it made you feel bad to be excited.
Because we know all too well that this truck having to come to you is decidedly not exciting.
Incidentally, they had a heck of a time getting this gigantic truck out of our narrow dead end private road. I wonder if they’ll bring a smaller one next time?
Not only can WORKING smoke detectors save YOUR life, but fire fighters respond to fires MUCH differently when they know the home is empty than when there is someone still inside. So, really, you’re helping save THEIR lives too. (Pretty sobering thought, huh?)
Did you know that “long-life” smoke and CO alarms, like Kidde’s Worry-Free alarms, will soon be the only type of battery-powered smoke alarms available at stores? Due to a new law, California consumers will begin to see smoke alarms powered by alkaline batteries disappear from store shelves.
Already this year, media have reported at least 71 residential fire deaths in California. 71 DEATHS in California alone. Stop. It.
This is seriously unacceptable.
To help keep families safer, the new law took effect on July 1, requiring any battery-powered smoke or combination (smoke and carbon monoxide) alarm approved for sale by the Office of the California State Fire Marshal be powered by a sealed, 10-year battery. By this time next year, all alarms on store shelves must be powered by sealed, 10-year batteries. This law also will hopefully decrease the likelihood that a firefighter would be injured or killed trying to save a life.
In addition to possibly saving a life, alarms like the Kidde Worry-Free line save consumers about $40 in battery costs over the life of one alarm – and remove the burden of remembering to change batteries every six months!
A recent survey reveals that one in three California homes needs its smoke alarms replaced – leaving millions of Californians at serious risk to be injured or perish in a residential fire.
This is NOT OKAY you guys.
Do me a solid today: go check your batteries. Swap them out if you need to, AND SPEND THE MONEY to replace the unit entirely if it isn’t working. Please.
For now though, Kidde is giving away one Kidde Worry Free Smoke Alarm to ONE California resident.
Just follow the rafflecopter prompts below. OPEN TO CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS ONLY. Sorry. I don’t make up the rules.