The Charlotte Fire Department helps prepare students for the upcoming school year.
The Fire Department opens its doors to collect school supplies for students who need it for WSOC-TV’s 9 School Tools program.
“The Charlotte Fire Department is a community fire department and we are active at all levels, not just emergency prevention and other core tasks,” Johnson said. “We are based in the community and want to be able to help in any way we can.”
In recent years, Charlotte Fire Stations have turned into dumping grounds for donations to community initiatives.
Charlotte Fire partnered with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, and WBTV in the month of May for Military Appreciation Month. The partnership collected thousands of essential items for Mecklenburg County Veterans Services.
In December, the fire department helped collect more than 30,000 coats for WSOC-TV Steve’s Coats for Kids program.
“Children are our future, and we need to engage them young to ensure they are on the right track and that they will be productive members of our society,” Johnson said.
With more than 40 Charlotte Fire donation sites, the school tool program provides four times as many collection points in Mecklenburg County.
“What we normally do is provide emergency services when we are called, but we involve the community in many ways and this gives us another chance,” he said.
All satchels donated to Charlotte Fire are accepted in memory of Michael Johnson.
Michael and his 23-year-old cousin, Mechelle Morrison, both died after a cooking fire in May 2018 at Rose Thorn Place in Charlotte.
Michael’s guardian, Dominique Bradley, uses this tragedy to protect other families from the same heartbreak. She was his legal guardian from the age of 5, until the day he died at just 9 years old.
Bradley does that by making sure kids of Michael’s age know his story and understand how to protect themselves from fire hazards.
This marks the fifth year that Bradley has teamed up with Charlotte Fire through her Michael’s House program for a backpacking trip in Michael’s honor.
She is busy filling the backpacks with things kids need for school and fire safety materials to protect them at home.
Fire safety and prevention
A fire can become life-threatening within two minutes. A house can go up in flames in five minutes. A working smoke detector significantly increases your chances of survival in the event of a deadly house fire. Follow these tips to make sure you’re safe:
Unless you are using 10-year lithium batteries, replace the batteries twice a year.
Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement.
Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Never turn off a smoke alarm while cooking – this can be a deadly mistake.
Audible alarms are available for the visually impaired and smoke detectors with a vibrating block or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired.
House fires can be prevented. Following are some simple steps each of us can take to avoid a cooking tragedy:
Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or roasting food. Turn off the stove if you are leaving the kitchen even for a short period of time.
Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled up sleeves when cooking.
Place barbecue grills at least 3 feet away from siding and deck railings, and under eaves and overhanging branches.
Keep a fire extinguisher accessible.
“So no one needs to feel the way we feel in the end and no kid will feel like Michael felt in his final moments,” Bradley said.
“Being able to honor Michael’s memory is very special to Charlotte Fire,” Johnson said.
Since 1997, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, has been collecting school supplies, which are then distributed free of charge to students in grades K-12.
“People give everything you can give — whatever’s in your heart,” Johnson said. “Even if it’s an eraser, a pack of pencils, those will be put to good use at Klaslokaal Centraal and help students in need.”
School supplies will be distributed in Classroom Central’s free store, a store where teachers and other school personnel from eligible schools can purchase free supplies throughout the school year.
Classroom Central serves teachers and students in nearly 200 schools in six school districts in the Charlotte area. Supplies are distributed through the Free Store, Mobile Free Store, and several other community-supported programs.
All materials distributed are used to create inviting learning environments and to support the academic and personal growth of students in need.
Donations can be made until August 31, 2022.
Find a Charlotte Fire donation location near you.