Tragic Fire Motivates Philadelphia Alumnae To Launch Impact 22 Project

Submitted by Leslie Fletcher and Sabrina Scott Feggins

On Jan. 5, 2022, a horrific and deadly duplex rowhouse fire claimed the lives of 12 members of two families in Philadelphia, including nine children and three adults, who were sisters. The matriarch of this family lost two daughters and eight grandchildren. This unimaginable tragedy, one of the deadliest residential fires in the history of this city, made national news and touched the hearts of most people, including all of the sorors of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.

The Emergency Response Team (ERT), with the compassionate guidance and support of chapter President Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon, sprang into action. The result is the Delta ERT Impact 22 project. It has two goals — to raise and donate funds to the affected families and to expand the education and knowledge of the public about fire safety awareness and preparedness strategies.

Ironically, days later there was an apartment fire in the Bronx borough in New York City, in which 17 people, including several children, lost their lives. Fire preparedness and safety education is needed across the country.

 Through the Delta ERT Impact 22 project, sorors were asked to donate $22 in honor of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated’s Founders to this worthy cause. In a week’s time the chapter raised more than $4,300 because of the heartfelt generosity of its members. The funds will be provided to the families through The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.

Even before learning that the fire may have been accidently set by a five-year-old, the ERT was resolved to expand the impact of our long-standing, award-winning annual Fire Safety Workshop. To that end, ERT proposes and is working on the creation of a training and education program for Philadelphia school students on fire prevention and safety. This proposal includes a partnership with the Philadelphia Fire Department and the School District of Philadelphia, and advocates for the following:

1.) Identification of a Fire Safety Officer (FSO) in each school to be trained by a fire safety training professional

2.) The provision of fire safe training for teachers, students and parents at each school
3.) Annual training thereafter

Updates on the progress and ultimate success of this program are forthcoming.

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