Attending the Vision 20/20 Symposium this month left me feeling simultaneously energized, inspired, and quite frankly, a little exhausted. My head was filled with new connections and ideas, and my to-do list had grown exponentially. Yet contradictory to the natural progression following a conference, after settling into my regular work routine and even bouncing to other projects, I found myself continuing to draw on the inspiration that I took away from the symposium rather than gradually losing momentum. One particular segment stood out to me because it so clearly puncuated the reason we are doing the important work we are doing.
That segment came in the form of a closing presentation in which the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer introduced a young woman named Monique (pictured above). Monique had the courage to share the story of how her family survived a fire very recently. Her humble delivery of the events that led up to the fire, and the honest account of the fear that she had experienced resonated with the audience. A photo flashed of her two beautiful daughters furthering the impact as well, but the most significant piece of her story to me was the simple fact that the fire department had visited her home just prior to this horrifying incident. The Philadelphia Fire Department had provided smoke alarms for Monique’s home and had talked her, and her family, through the elements of a home escape plan. A plan that weeks later literally saved their lives. Her ability to be with us at the symposium and share this tale was all because of the great work that is being done through smoke alarm installation programs like that of the Philadelphia Fire Department and so many others. And like the story of the star fish being tossed back into the ocean by the young boy, it surely made a difference to this one. The visit from the fire department made a profound difference to this home and this particular family.
NPFA offers an array of resources to support smoke alarm education and installation programs at Smoke Alarm Central on our website. Visit as often as you’d like and together we can keep up the momentum!