When the community of Denair decides to get behind a cause, great things happen. The most recent demonstration of this community pride was an effort to secure a nationwide fire services grant through Liberty Mutual's Be Fire Smart Safety Pledge program.
From Sept. 1 through Oct. 31, more than 1,200 residents and friends of Denair took an online fire safety quiz. Each completion secured a credit for the Denair Volunteer Fire Department, helping it become one of two small communities, and one of 10 cities and towns overall across the U.S., to win a Liberty Mutual $10,000 grant.
"It's great to see our community rally together and pledge a commitment to fire safety to help Denair earn the $10,000 grant," said Sheila Boer, a sales representative for Liberty Mutual's Brentwood. "We have a shared responsibility to make Denair a great place to live and work, and supporting our local fire service is a great way to keep our families and homes safe and secure."
Boer said the community of Denair's win was truly amazing. The Denair Volunteer Fire Department started its campaign for votes three weeks into the contest, and was the first-ever California fire service to participate in the three-year old program.
More than 80,000 people took the online fire safety quiz, securing votes for 4,000 fire departments across the country. The Denair Fire Department tallied 1,200 of those votes.
"It just shows what the town of Denair can do," said Denair Fire Chief Glenn Doerksen. "I've lived here for 47 years and the community never ceases to amaze me."
The fire department credits the support of the Denair Unified School District - and in particular, the efforts of Denair High administrative secretary Marcy Montano for being able to gather so many votes. The school district sent home flyers with the students, detailing the contest and asking parents to take the fire safety quiz.
Montano, and a dedicated group of volunteers, took it a step further by coordinating a door to door canvass of the town. The volunteers, along with members of the fire department, also set up a computer bank at a Denair High football game, taking advantage of the hometown crowd gathered to cheer on the Coyotes.
"I just admire what they do," Montano said of why she took up the Denair Fire Department's grant cause. "I know from working at the school, that if there's a problem, (the Denair Fire Department volunteers) are the first ones there."
Denair High librarian Gayle Schell summed up her reasons for supporting the contest by saying: "The house they save tomorrow could be your own."
Doerksen said the station plans to use the grant to obtain more products for fire prevention, with the possibility of also obtaining new extrication tools.
In addition to Denair, the other communities earning $10,000 Be Fire Smart grants from Liberty Mutual are:
Large communities (greater than 100,000 residents)
• Lexington (Ky.) Division of Fire & Emergency Services
• Norfolk (Va.) Fire-Rescue
• Bridgewater (Mass.) Fire Department
• Caledonia (Mich.) Fire Rescue
• Covington (Ky.) Fire Department
• Middleton (Wis.) Fire District
• Weymouth (Mass.) Fire Department
• Wilmington (Mass.) Fire Department
Small communities (less than 10,000 residents)
• Merrimac (Mass.) Fire Department
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