Mom on mission to spread fire safety after daughter’s death

By Chris Oberholtz & Emily Rittman
KCTV 5 – April 22, 2014


A metro mother is on a mission to save lives after her daughter died when a fire started at a sleepover.

Terri Jackson says before her daughter’s death, she never thought to make sure a home had working smoke alarms and fire escape plans.

The 8-year-old loved karate and being a Girl Scout.

“She was getting ready to go to Girl Scout Resident Camp. She watched her sister go years before. Finally, that summer was going to be her year to go,” Jackson said.

Unfortunately, Taylor never got to go to camp. On Oct. 2, 2011, she died after an electrical fire started inside her best friend’s home. The home did not have working smoke alarms.

“You think about asking about drugs, guns and alcohol, but you don’t think about something as simple as a smoke detector,” Jackson said.

Jackson cringes every time she hears a fire engine. Despite her painful experience, she works closely with firefighters to raise awareness.

“It takes eight seconds a month to push that little test button,” she said. “Eight seconds compared to a lifetime without your child.”

Tricia Roberts, public education specialist with the Overland Park Fire Department says having a working smoke alarm is a matter of life or death.

“Without a working smoke alarm, particularly at night, your chances of surviving are not very good. You need this to wake you up,” Roberts said.

In honor of Taylor’s memory, family and friends are raising money to send little girls to the Girl Scout camp Taylor never got to attend.

They’re holding a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s at 11000 Metcalf Ave. from 8-10 a.m. Saturday. The cost is $6 per plate. There will be door prizes and fire safety awareness information.

Overland Park firefighters want people of all ages to use smoke alarms. They are giving special smoke alarms for free to families who have someone who is hard of hearing or deaf.

The special alarms use strobe lights and vibrate to shake someone who might not hear a normal alarm.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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