Community Caring

I have mentioned for the past several months that I have been working with my local fire department, of which I am a proud Life Member, on organizing the 21st “Senior Safety Saturday” which turned out this year for a number of reasons to be “Senior Safety Sunday.”

Kinda funny how that happened, but that is another story.

So this past Sunday, I wore my Chippewa Firefighter Boots, tactical pants, and my local FD shirt and joined 12 firefighters, two lieutenants, and 60 more volunteers (friends of yours truly) who…

…fanned out across our community and installed:

  • Replacement smoke alarms for alarms over 10 years old.
  • Replacement batteries for smoke alarms less than 10 years old.
  • Replacement (or new) carbon monoxide alarms
  • Brighter but energy-efficient LED lighting in areas where seniors walk, especially during the night, like the hall between the bedroom and the bathroom.
  • Non-slip bath mats in the bath and non-slip tape on the bottom of the tub.
  • Grab bars in the bathroom and other strategic locations.
  • A few other minor modifications as needed in certain locations.

For months, well-organized senior pals visited homes that we targeted for these safety improvements. They made a tailored checklist for what would be required, and got a signed release form.

They sent me (and my fire dept. buds) the list of supplies that were required. I did some fundraising, and by last Friday night, we had received confirmation that everything we needed was available for pickup from a local building supplies retailer. We picked up those supplies on Saturday.

Sunday morning we gathered at a local church hall. We were going to meet outdoors, but it had rained all day the day before so the grass was soggy. A local elected official kicked off the occasion and stood with me as I received a “fake check” from a representative of our primary funder.

I handed out the checklists for some 50 households. Teams of volunteers visited three or four homes each and did their installations and repairs. We were done (pretty much) by noon.

I asked that all of the old smoke and CO alarms be returned to me. I removed the old batteries and brought this old equipment and batteries to the hazardous waste collection facility at our county’s transfer station (what most folks call “the dump.”) With the hazardous stuff disposed of properly, my day was almost done.

At 5pm, I arranged for pizza and soft drinks to be delivered to the fire house, and enjoyed a thank-you dinner with the volunteers and fire fighters involved in this event.

It is my pleasure to organize this event once or twice a year. I do this in honor of my mother, who was my first “guinea pig” for this event more than 20 years ago.

Life is short: serve your community and keep your neighbors safe!