On Sunday March 29th, the LA Jewish community was invited to a fire safety fair at two locations. In the morning, Emek Hebrew Academy hosted an event that lasted from 11 until 2pm. Then at 4pm, B’nei David Judea hosted a symposium at the shul on Pico.
The event were conceived by realtor Michelle Hirsch who explained why she put the event together. “No family should ever have to go through the horrific tragedy that just occurred in Brooklyn. Shame on us, if we don’t take a moment to stop, learn, and grow both in a physical way and in a spiritual way. I had to make this happen, I made it my mission. I made one phone call to Shirley Friedman, and in less than a week this is what we pulled together. It has been a fantastic outcome.”
Fire safety starts with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Hirsch is all too aware that real estate transactions can’t close without these. Yet 90% of the homes she sells and buys are missing these life-saving items. “People wait until they are selling their homes to have these items checked and replaced but that is the wrong time to do it!”
Michelle Hirsch single handedly financially sponsored the Safety Fair. “I could not have put this vital program together without Commissioner Shirley Friedman, Chair of L.A. City Democratic party Eric C. Bauman, and Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, Head of School at Emek.” Both programs were put together in conjunction and with assistance by Council Members, L.A. City Fire Department, and Hatzolah.
The free symposiums were well attended with fire education projects and refreshments besides. Smoke detectors were freely distributed and there were live demonstrations of the proper and correct use of a hand fire extinguisher. Kids also need to learn fire safety and this was a key theme at the Valley event. All attendees learned that a fire extinguisher is the second line of defense but the first preventive item is a smoke alarm which must be in good working order. Change the batteries each year!
Although everyone is familiar with small red fire extinguishers, we rarely have a cause to use one and this is problematic because a fire can double in size every 60 seconds. Fire extinguishers that you find in schools and public spaces are the same as the ones at home. They are classified as Class ABC extinguishers, because they are able to put out a fire that comes from wood or paper, flammable liquid and electrical sources. You can purchase these on Amazon from $16, so there is no excuse for any home to be without one.
Where should you keep your home fire extinguisher? In the place that is most easily accessible, probably the closet by the doorway to the kitchen. Local firefighters explained that you cannot fight a fire with a handheld extinguisher if the flames are taller than you are. In this situation, G-d forbid, call 911 and leave the premises. Otherwise, you must pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the trigger and sweep the flames from side to side.
All the families that attended the events on March 29th were pleased with the information they received. Michelle Andron said her kids had a blast and added that she is, “delighted to get the Fire Department to come to my house for an appointment. They are going to replace all the alarms for free. We’ve lived in the same home for 10 years so I think we are a little behind the times and our smoke alarms could be out of date. Now that I have a home full of kids, it’s important to be responsible”