Fire Stations, Donations, & a PSA

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.

The prize?

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?”

Oh boy.

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.

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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.

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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.


See that?  Always.  No matter what.  Even here.  Even like this.


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?

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But for all the excitement and fun of the afternoon, this sign on the locker room door was the whole reason we were there at all.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

Latest posts by jeannett (see all)


  1. 1

    Good restraint not mentioning the hotness of the firefighter. Because yowza.

  2. 2

    really really great post!!!

    loved all of it! Especially Jill lifing the weights – that is priceless!

    BTW – As I know you are fully aware, I still must say – I cannot believe how grown up your kids are getting! I started reading you blog when the girls were babies! And Henry was so little!! Now look at them – have mercy – amazing wonderful kids!! It is really a joy to read your blog! Have a great weekend!

  3. 3

    1. that firefighter with jilly….was he single?! Cause I’ll move to california #noshame
    2. I kind of want to frame that picture of jilly holding up the barbell.

  4. 4

    I took my preschool class to our fire department during safety week one year and it was much the same! They were so friendly and let us try things on, look in the weight room and we even got juice and cookies too! It was informative and so much fun. After work, I’ll be sure to check our alarms at home! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. 5

    Thank you so much for posting this today. I needed to see that somewhere there were people who would go out of their way to recognize and value a child with special needs. We are currently battling with our local gymnastics club after our son with ADHD was asked not to return because he was too much extra work for the coaches. Now my husband has been removed from coaching after he spoke up about the exclusion being wrong and against the Human Rights Code, and my daughter has been prevented from training with the competitive team because, well, she’s a part of the family. Now we’re considering legal optins because we just can’t sit back and let people treat others in this way.

  6. 6
    Daphne Tabis says:

    I may or may not have ugly cried at the picture of Jilly lifting the weight.

    (I totally did)

  7. 7

    This post inspired a little debate between my husband and myself about smoke alarms and batteries – his theory that batteries only need to be changed once a year and the reality/request by fire that they be changed twice yearly. We change ours every 6 months when the ‘dead battery’ beep wakes us up at O’Dark Thirty.

  8. 8

    Introducing yourselves and your kids to the local fire crew, then needing them a week later.
    Winning smoke alarm contest, and donating them to your local fire crew just as they’ve run out.

    That my friend, is a series of Divinely appointed moments!

  9. 9

    We actually just replaced our batteries in our smoke alarms, we are getting licensed for foster care ! Even tho we are in Colorado its still important to check them! So glad you guys had a wonderful time at your local fire department and got a chance to donate all those smoke detectors!

  10. 10

    LOVE that picture of Jill with the barbell.

    Oh, and you’ve reminded me to buy batteries for my smoke alarms. I’ll run to the store in 30 minutes and get a couple packs. Thanks!