I could easily turn these two subjects into individual articles, but both carry tremendous importance, so I am going to tackle both of them in this one article. I was reading the daily business plan for CF& EMS one morning, and I clicked on a link that takes you to the LODD (Line of Duty Deaths) for 2020. As of the last reported number, 10 firefighters had lost their lives in the line of duty across America. The cause of one of those firefighter deaths can be directly affected by you and me. You have heard a lot about the Move Over initiative, since Lt. Brad Clark was killed by a tractor trailer on I-295. Laws are being written, across the country making it so that you must move over when you see emergency vehicles operating ahead. The bottom line is: it is common sense and common courtesy that you should slow down and move over, giving emergency workers room to work. There are far too many incidents where police officers, firefighters, and medics are struck by passing vehicles or by vehicles that drive into an incident scene. There is nowhere that you or I go that warrants driving in a way that endangers public safety or highway workers.
Just that quickly, 10 LODDs became 12, as two firefighters lost their lives in a library fire in Porterville, Calif. This is not the second topic that I want to address in this article, but this is how quickly things change. As I pray for the families of these firefighters and the fire department in the City of Porterville, I pray that these firefighters did not lose their lives for a building. There is no building on this planet that is worth the life of a firefighter.
Early Wednesday morning, a house fire on Blue Rock Drive, in Chesterfield broke out. News reports state that the family credits working smoke alarms with alerting everyone, allowing all occupants, including pets, to escape safely. From what little that I know about this fire, firefighters arrived, with fire showing from the front and side of the dwelling. This is a true success story! The proper number of properly placed and properly operating smoke alarms save lives. As I have said over and over again, a system of electric smoke alarms with battery backups, connected in series, allows all smoke alarms to activate, as soon as one alarm detects smoke. If you only have battery-operated smoke alarms, those are still sufficient, as long as you have the right number of alarms that are properly placed and operating properly, which is determined by monthly testing. The difference is that each battery-operated alarm must detect smoke before it will activate. If you only have one or two smoke alarms in your home, will they wake your family up in the middle of the night? The only way to know for certain is to activate the smoke alarm that is farthest from the bedrooms, after everyone has gone to sleep. Again, battery-operated smoke alarms will activate as smoke reaches them. You want your family to be awakened as early in the fire as possible. You also want the smoke alarms that are the farthest away to alert your family, but if they will not wake them up, then you must install more smoke alarms until you obtain the desired outcome.