From Bill Kaempffer, public safety spokesman:
First-grader Liza Powell got a special ride to school this morning – in a Bridgeport Fire Department Fire Engine.
Liza won the trip through a school fundraiser at Black Rock School as part of Fire Prevention Week in October. The raffle proceeds will go to fund school field trips.
Liza bought $5 worth of tickets in quarters from her piggy bank. Her mother, Sue Ellen, gave $5 and Liza’s Uncle Paul pitched in $10, netting 24 raffle tickets. The school has 420 students, but Liza was confident, her mother said.
It was announced over the public address system that she had won.
“Liza said, ‘I screamed and all the kids ran over to me like I was giving away candy.’ She was one excited girl,” Powell said.
“Our kids are our ambassadors. City firefighters visit our schools to teach about fire prevention, family safety plans and the importance of smoke detectors. Our great teachers reinforce those messages. The kids bring the safety message home to their families,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “We all know that smoke detectors save lives. And the city will install them for free in your house. All you have to do is call.”
Liza was picked up at home and arrived to school at about 9:15 a.m. in Engine Co. 7, with lights and sirens blazing. She was accompanied by Fire Lt. David Purcell, Pumper Engineer Joseph Reilly and Firefighters John Peterson and Lindsey Rivera. Her kindergarten and first grade classmates were there to greet her outside. She said she wasn’t nervous at all during the ride.
“My mom wasn’t there, but there were firefighters there to keep me safe,” said Liza. “I didn’t even have to plug my ears.”
Through the SafeAsleep program, the Fire Department has installed approximately 145,000 free smoke detectors in people’s homes across the city.
Anyone wanting free smoke alarms installed in their home can call 203-335-8835.
The visit was part of an ongoing educational program by the city’s first responders to keep kids and families safe.
Last month, the Police and Fire Departments visited Park City Magnet School for a school-wide assembly to talk about fire safety and pedestrian safety.
Click here to read about that: bit.ly/1GxJ9tB.
Black Rock School’s Parent Advisory Council came up with the idea of a chauffeured fire truck ride as a fundraiser for the school.
“I think this is an exciting way for kids to understand about fire safety and fire awareness. We’ve been drilling that home,” said Principal Karen Helyer. “But today the kids get to see real firefighters. They love it. They just love it.”
Fire Chief Brian Rooney said: “It was a great idea. We immediately said yes. In our profession, we know that seconds save lives during fires and that the free smoke detectors through the SafeAlseep program have given early warning to hundreds of residents about fires in their homes. Liza won the raffle. But when her classmates go home and talk to their parents about smoke alarms, then everyone wins.”
Sue Ellen Powell said Liza woke up early this morning more excited about the ride than interested in breakfast. Powell couldn’t deny being excited herself.
“You want to create experiences and create memories for your daughter,” Powell said. “She will remember this forever.”