PARMA, Ohio (WJW)– An 8-year-old Parma girl was honored as a lifesaver and she credits the Parma Fire Department with teaching her what to do in the event of a fire.
Fire investigators said on July 16, the girl’s 18-year-old sister was asleep inside their home on Grovewood Avenue when young Jaida Green smelled smoke coming from their garage. Jaida woke up her sister and told her they needed to get out of the house with the family dog.
“It’s smoking. I hear popping. Through the door I see flames, red hot and it was kind of getting like hot in there,” Jaida said.
The third grader said she knew what to do because of training she received last school year at John Muir Elementary School from the Parma Fire Department and the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children fire safety trailer. The trailer is constructed like a house, and firefighters show children what to do when smoke begins filling the trailer.
“After paying attention to what actually was happening on that day and thinking about that day coming to our house where there’s actually a fire,” Jaida said.
“It’s great because you have a lot of kids going through and you just hope that they remember a little bit of it. And she obviously did and you never know when it’s going to pop back up, but for her, she did a great job of recalling it,” said Parma Fire Cpt. Ron Iacoboni, who helps provide the training for the young students.
For her actions, Jaida was presented with a number of life saving commendations from the city of Parma and the nonprofit organization, Aluminum Cans for Burned Children. Her mom said she thinks every day about what could have happened if Jaida did not know what to do.
“I had lawnmowers, I had gas cans, I had a motorcycle. If she hadn’t reacted as fast as she had, there could have been a disaster,” Betty Bailey said.
Monday is the first day of Fire Prevention Week and firefighters said Jaida’s story demonstrates why it’s so important to know exactly what to do in the event of a fire. They are urging all families to discuss and practice their escape plan, and to change their smoke detector batteries.
“It’s critical because it’s one of those things that you don’t pay much attention to. You don’t think about it and then an emergency happens and you can’t go back in time and prepare for it and plan for it,” Iacoboni said.
The fire safety trailers and other efforts of Aluminum Cans for Burned Children are funded by the collection of 28 tons of aluminum cans that are then sold as scrap. More than 85 fire stations across Northeast Ohio provide easy drop-off areas for the cans.