Story by Hallie McCurdy
Photo by Glen Starek
Lakewood, WA — January 19th started out as any other day for the Zimmerman/Brashear Family. Marsha, mother of three went to work at her night shift job and left her three boys safely in bed with their grandmother in the next room. At nearly 3 a.m. things took a dramatic turn from the normal when a fire broke out in their home. The grandmother and the boys woke up to the sound of the smoke alarm, or the beep, beep sound as one of the boys put it. They then walked to the rear of the home and saw fire. The grandmother instructed the boys to go to the neighbor‚Äôs house across the street and call 9-1-1. The boys did what they were told and firefighters showed up minutes later to extinguish the fire.
This story could have turned out much differently had it not been for Lakewood Fire District 2‚Äôs comprehensive fire and life safety education programs. The months leading up to the fire the Brashear Family had several contacts with local fire personnel.
The Brashear Family attended the Annual Safety Pumpkin Patch on October 25th. This event is a lot of fun for children, but families also receive safety information on many topics such as fire safety, child passenger safety, pedestrian safety and water safety. In 2008, Lakewood Fire was lucky enough to receive a grant from the Washington State Department of Health and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to provide free smoke alarms in our community. One of the booths at the Pumpkin Patch was dedicated to informing families about this opportunity to receive free smoke alarms. The Brashear family took us up on this offer and scheduled an appointment for us to install free smoke alarms. An appointment was scheduled with the family in November to install the alarms that alerted the family to the fire on the morning of January 19th.
The other contact was at Custer Elementary with a Fire Prevention Week Assembly in mid-October. Firefighters came to the school with Sparky the Fire Dog and performed a fire safety skit for the children in Kindergarten through 5th grades. As part of Fire Prevention Week, Lakewood Fire District 2 also held a contest in which the Brashear Family participated. The contest involved creating and practicing an escape plan, little did the family know they would actually have to put it into action on the morning of the 19th. Contest entries were placed into a drawing and two children from each school received rides on the fire engine. Classrooms with 100% participation also received a pizza party with the firefighters. One of the boys was in a class who received a pizza party.
We are so thankful that this family received all these messages and were able to escape their home safely on that very scary day. Lakewood Fire District 2 could not have done this on our own. It truly does take a village to save a family. If not for the principal who allowed us in her school, or the teacher who made this assignment a priority for her students, or the mother who made safety a priority in her home this story could have ended much differently.
If your family does not have working smoke alarms in the home please contact Lakewood Fire District 2 at 253-582-4600 to schedule an appointment. If you would like to learn more about some of our upcoming events, please go to our website at www.lakewoodfire.org.Print This Post