Friday, August 28, 2009

Random Thoughts.. and requests

Just the other day I got an email from a reader of the blog who sent me a list of some of the things she and her family are doing different to be prepared in the event of a fire. I am so glad that our story is helping make others more aware of their fire risk and take action NOW in the event their home was the victim of a fire. While it is unlikely, fires do happen, and I think anything you can do as prevention or planning is great. My first request is to know what you and your family are doing differently (leave it as a comment or send me an email!). And if you haven't done anything, that's fine too, although I hope that throughout this next year, we can have a virtual conversation about small things you can do that can make a big difference.

One thing I am working on this year is fire education. I am hoping to partner with the fire department so that we can share our story and lessons learned. I know people are tired of hearing us talk on the news, but we hope that maybe it will reinforce the idea that this isn't a small trauma or event and that you need to take measures now to safeguard your family, especially if you live in areas that border high-fire-danger zones. I think it's great that we have fire safety programs in the schools, but I would love to see more programs that target parents. I am hoping to speak to a few PTAs this year, encouraging parents to create a family plan and to PRACTICE (that fire ladder does you and your family little good if no one knows how to use is or even knows if it fits on the window). I remember being told all of that information as a child and taking it home to my parents, but we never practiced or even talked about what to do much longer than the day after the school presentation. I think it would be much more effective to talk to parents. If your school is interested in having a presentation done, please let me know.

As a part of fire education, I am going to start working on turning this into a book. I'm hopeful that over the next several months I am able to get the energy to work on it. I've started a couple versions, but I haven't really honed in on the story I want to tell. Hopefully that will come soon!

I am also still working on trying to set up the Life After the Fire nonprofit. I am hoping to have a launch fundraiser next year on August 25th. I would love to have a few people help come up with ideas and get us off the ground. If you are interested, please let me know. I am hoping that the organization is able to create boxes that are distributed to fire departments locally (and eventually nationwide) items that a family might need in the hours immediately after the fire, complete with a booklet on who you need to call (insurance, utilities), insurance tips and hotlines, and how to deal with the shock of your life being turned on its head.

And finally, I would just love if you said "Hi." I have loved getting emails from people across the country (and world!!) who have found my blog in one way or another. I love hearing your stories. I think that we have all experienced loss in one way or another, and we can always find common ground there. If you are comfortable sharing your stories with me, I would love to establish a dialog. You can email me by clicking the "Contact me" button or the address is listed to the right.

Most of all, thanks for reading, for sharing, and for lifting us up as we continue on this journey.


  1. Hi Brooke! I read your blog often but I've never commented before. I did want to share with you one way (of many) that your experience has affected me. When I use my oven, it sets my smoke detector off EVERY single time. That thing is so loud it hurts our ears (as it should!) so I am always frantically tearing it down and ripping out the battery every time I cook. There have been so many times in the past that I would wake up the next morning and come downstairs to see the smoke detector lying on the countertop, battery out, because I forgot (or didn't bother) to put it back up. But ever since your devastating loss, I have thought about you EVERY SINGLE TIME and have always put the smoke detector back right away - it won't do us any good if it spends the night on the counter. I honestly think of you every time. I know it doesn't sound like much but it could save our lives.
    You are such an inspiration to have come through an awful trauma with such strength and grace, and now to be so dedicated to helping others to be prepared. I am really proud to know you!

  2. Hello Brooke! I had a fire proof safe but only have kept papers in there. I have never kept my photoCD's and negatives anywhere but in a bin. Honestly to me that is the one tangible thing I cannot pay to replace. I looked and my existing safe is not fire rated for media so for Christmas this year I have asked for a media rated fire proof safe to start keeping these in.