In the wake of a tragedy in Brooklyn, Los Angeles gets FireSmart
When news first reached the West Coast of a tragic house fire in Brooklyn that killed seven children of an Orthodox Jewish family, the Jewish community of Los Angeles was quick to react. The fire had started because of a faulty hot plate in the kitchen, used to keep food warm while still observing the Sabbath prohibition of lighting a flame. The home that burned had only one smoke alarm, in the basement, and investigators couldn’t determine if it was functioning when the fire broke out in the early morning hours of March 21, 2015.
Community leaders in LA knew that as Passover nears, a two-day long holiday where similar warming techniques are needed, it was imperative to get fire safety messages to their constituents. The Los Angeles Fire Department and MySafe:LA were called into action.
Sunday, Education Director Cameron Barrett and Home Installation Educators Bryan Vardanian and Christopher Kerbrat, took part in two safety events – the Fire Safety Fair at Emek Hebrew Academy in Sherman Oaks, and the Fire Safety Symposium at Beis Bezalel Temple in Los Angeles.
“I’ve never seen a more engaged community,” said Cameron Barrett. “At both events, this was a group of active, caring families who were intent on learning fire safety skills that will help keep their homes and loved ones safe.”
MySafe:LA manned a table in the covered parking area of the Emek Hebrew Academy and provided FireSmart:LA fire safety education materials as well as free smoke alarms to approximately 200 members of the community. MySafe:LA staffers also signed up more than 50 people for future home smoke alarm inspections and installations.
“MySafe:LA provides up to 5 smoke alarms and one CO detector installed for free to anyone in Los Angeles,” said Vardanian, who is one of the senior installers at MySafe:LA. “Anyone can sign up at MySmokeAlarm dot org, if they live in a single family home in LA.”
As part of the schedule of events during the fair, Barrett presented fire safety presentations alongside members of Fire Station 88, who were in attendance for the entire fair. After each presentation, Barrett, Vardanian and Kerbrat demonstrated the proper use of a fire extinguisher to the assembled groups, with members of Fire Station 88 in support. “I’ve never fielded so many questions about safety tools and techniques,” said Kerbrat. “This was a group that watched closely, took notes, and went home smarter and safer.”
Later in the afternoon, MySafe:LA headed downtown to man a table in the lobby of the Beis Bezalel Temple, where staffers gave away more smoke alarms and signed up another 50 people for home smoke alarm inspections and installations. During the symposium, Barrett presented a fire safety multimedia lecture attended by families, as well as LAFD South Bureau Commander Deputy Chief Daren Palacios, and LAPD West Operations Deputy Chief Bea Girmala. To end the day, Barrett, Vardanian and Kerbrat brought the group outside for more demonstrations of fire extinguisher usage, with members of Fire Station 58 in support.