When I was seventeen years old they found a tumor on my pancreas called insulinoma. They removed that tumor, but it had already spread to and attacked my liver which is why I needed my first liver transplant.
And then my body rejected that liver.
The second transplant was too much for me to take and I went into cardiac arrest and there wasn’t enough oxygen going to my spinal cord during that time. So, I have an incomplete T12/L1 spinal cord injury.
I think mentally it was more difficult than physically cause physically, you know, I was doing physical therapy, I was in the rehabilitation program. Mentally…it was all on me. My family was always super supportive and my friends would always come visit me so…I had a lot of support but it was kind of wrapping my head around the fact that I do have a spinal cord injury.
Growing up my parents took care of everything. They took care of the bills. They took care of the cleaning, cooking, and also fire safety of our house. And now that I’m growing up and I’m on my own, I need to take responsibility for those things. Including fire safety.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires across the nation. When I cook, I’m careful not to wear loose clothing, or leave any combustibles near the stove that can catch on fire. I also know to never leave my cooking alone and to always stay with it. If there’s a grease fire, I never put water on the grease fire. Instead I use a lid to cover it and put it out.
The second thing I need to know about fire safety are the things that keep me safe…like smoke alarms and fire sprinklers. If you can, live with a sprinkler. Automatic fire sprinklers will put out the fire within seconds, saving lives and giving me plenty of time to exit the building.
I always have a working smoke alarm. Just to make sure it’s working, I test it. Because it may take longer for me to get
out, I have to react quickly. So if the fire alarm goes off, I get up and get out. No matter where I am, at home or at work,
I have to know two different ways to get out.
If my first exit’s blocked by a bike or a trash can, I might need to use the second way to get out. So get familiar with the second exit, and practice using it. In taller buildings when the fire alarm system goes off, the elevators may automatically go down to the ground floor for the firefighters to use.
Find our if your building is designed with special safe areas called areas of refuge. When you can, go and wait for the firefighters to rescue you. Sometimes the safest place to wait is inside the building, rather than trying to get out through the smoke. If you can’t get out of the building, it’s really important to let the firefighters know where you are
Use a telephone, a cell phone, or have someone else tell the firefighters where you are. It’s important that I’m prepared for a fire emergency. Not just at home but at work and when I’m out.
You can learn more about fire safety by talking to a fire official or someone from the fire department.
Remember, fire safety is part of living.