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Young hero: What did Julisa Ramirez know that we all should know?

As they say, “Out of the mouths of babes …”

Julisa Ramirez, 8, screamed “Mom, fire!” on March 17 and saved three lives plus her own when she did this and also told her family to go to their outdoor “safe place.”

This Parkdale second-grader provides lessons for us all, and Parkdale’s Mike McCafferty has reason to be the proudest fire chief in Oregon: He presented Julisa with the department’s first-ever Hero Award (article, page A1) and got his volunteers together to present Julisa with teddy bears to replace the one she lost in the fire.

McCafferty knows that there can be a real impact from the fire prevention and response education that his department, and all others in the valley, provides to school children.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Ted Megert attended the assembly and read a letter of commendation from State Marshal Mark Wallace, which read, “The Oregon office of State Fire Marshal commends you for your lifesaving actions on March 17, 2013, when you bravely remembered your fire safety training and put into action resulting in saving the lives of your parents and 1-year-old sister.

“In recognition of your initiative, bravery and action the office hereby awards you this certificate of commendation.”

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Julisa Ramirez learned about the “safe place” four years ago, as a preschooler, and the family talked about it and made it a part of their awareness. That foresight paid off.

Statewide in 2012 there were no child deaths due to fire, according to Wallace’s office. It’s the first time that has happened since ODFM started keeping track.

That statistic, and Julisa’s quick thinking, leads to the question we can all ask: Will we know what to say and do when fire hits our home or business?

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