By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – A program that started in Jan. 2015 in Harrison County to help students understand fire safety has been updated and is expanding into Tucker County. Operation “Not One More” was developed by Cindy Murphy. She spoke at the Tucker County Rotary in December, and Rotarians agreed to seek funding to bring Operation “Not One More” to Tucker County Schools.
Murphy, who is a Captain with the Clarksburg Fire Department, said she was asked by the Harrison County Children’s Advocacy Center to go into the local schools and work with students on fire safety. She said she developed to program to make sure no more kids perished in fires.
“I came into the schools to help students learn about fire safety, and was just a piece of the program helping kids stay safe,” Murphy said. “In January, I was at Lost Creek Elementary School doing the program. I did my first class with them and as we were working with the class, the leader of the program told me we lost one of the kids in a fire. It was very close to my family farm.”
Murphy said she realized she had worked with that child on safety, smoke detectors, how to exit a home during a fire and crawling low to avoid smoke.
“All of that message and for whatever reason, she still passed,” Murphy said. “Everything was against them surviving this fire. I was devastated and had a difficult time with my next class. I walked out of there and completely lost it. I knew I had to do more with the classes.”
Murphy said she talked about smoke detectors, but said there was no way to determine if the detectors worked.
“So I made some calls, and decided to give kids a smoke detector so they had at least one brand new working smoke detector in their homes,” Murphy said. “I started looking around and found a 10-year lithium battery smoke detector.”
Murphy said with these smoke detectors, no one has to worry about changing the batteries for 10 years. She said all they need to do is test it each month to assure it is in working order.
“For 10 years, you do not have to worry about someone pulling the battery out for a nuisance alarm,” Murphy said. “The batteries do not fit into something else, so they cannot be removed and used to work another item.”
Murphy said finding the 10 year smoke detector was a turning point in her life.
“I knew at that point I could make a difference,” Murphy said. “I can do this class while working with a retailer to get these detectors at a reduced price and then every child I talk to will leave my class with a 10 year smoke detector. We have been able to do it for two years now and I just found out I have funding from State Farm for a third year. For me, this is incredible.”
Murphy said it was a natural progression to move the program into Tucker County.
“We are a small county and the number of elementary school kids we can help would be tremendous,” Murphy said. “I went to the Tucker County Rotary and they gave $3,000 for the smoke detectors for the first grade in Tucker County. We think we can make a big impact.”
Additional information about Operation “Not One More” is available on Facebook.