Clarksburg, WV,
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The Silent Guardians

A Fire Captain's vow to protect childrn

When a house fire killed a family whose children had attended a fire safety lesson just two months prior, Clarksburg, WV Fire Captain Cindy Murphy decided those lessons weren’t enough.

“It absolutely broke my heart somebody I had talked to about smoke detectors was not able to make it out of their home,” said Murphy, “I didn’t want another child to die in a fire [because they didn’t have one].”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “three out of five home fires resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.”

Determined to steer clear of any further preventable deaths, Murphy created Operation Not One More. With 850 first graders in the county, she made it her goal to equip these children and their homes with 10-year smoke detectors—to provide “silent guardians” to watch over them.

When the call to action went out, the donations poured in. To date, she has already provided almost 900 smoke detectors—exceeding her goal and saving more lives in the process. Adds Murphy, “I could not have accomplished this by myself.”

Her next step is to create a public service campaign that will ensure proper installation of the detectors. It’s no use “if they are still sitting in a bag at the kid’s house,” says Murphy. She wants to make sure all of the alarms are up and running.

With these detectors, the children will be teens before they have to worry about changing a battery. The tamper-resistant alarm prevents family members from taking out the battery and forgetting to put it back in—a major cause of house fire-related injuries and deaths.