ESA-member company Wayne Alarm Systems recently came to the aid of several families in Lynn, Massachusetts displaced by a residential fire that occurred right before Christmas.
Ralph Sevinor, president of Wayne Alarm Systems, said a “major fire event” in Lynn left 18 people displaced in the early hours of December 4, 2015. In addition to the 18 in need of a place to stay, four other victims died and several others were injured. Sevinor said the Red Cross notified him that 18 people were displaced, many of whom were forced into the cold with no shoes, jackets or personal effects.
“They said there were no premises large enough available or open to help assist these people and determine what their needs were, and inquired if we could help,” Sevinor said. “We immediately said we will open up our premises and assist with whatever we could.”
He said the residents were transported to the Wayne Alarm Systems facility by bus where they had full access to their new conference and training room as well as access to grief counselors and chaplain services. The Red Cross arrived at the facility with five disaster management vehicles to help those displaced as well.
“It is somewhat amazing that we had just finished the conference / training room yesterday and its first use was to help others,” Sevinor said.
He said many of those displaced were children, who lost all their toys in the blaze.
“There were many children who were part of the group who lost their families, and were confused, bewildered and scared,” he said. “You could see the terror on all their faces, a sight that was difficult to comprehend.”
As divine intervention or good luck would have it, Sevinor said they had many toys in the office that their team had collected as part of their annual toy drive for local children.
Over the course of the day social workers, psychologists, local elected officials and fire officials visited with the displaced residents, eventually placing all of them in local hotels.
Sevinor sent an email out to his staff thanking them for their help in extending kindness to strangers in need.
“It was an emotionally challenging day for all,” Sevinor said. “Thank you all for making every effort to help these unfortunate people be a bit more comfortable and stable. It brings home the importance and reality of our life safety systems and services. What we do truly helps to save lives. Many times we don’t know the details, but always remember we save lives every day, people count on us 24/7/365.”
Sevinor concluded by reflecting on the fragility of life and how fast people’s lives can dramatically change in a moment. He also encouraged his team to go home and give an extra special hug to all of the people most important to them.