Brett Saunders poses with members of the Little Falls Fire Department in a morning ceremony where he provided 500 smoke detectors to Benton Hall Students.

by Dave Warner

Brett Saunders is on a mission, to make sure that none of his friends or any other children in the Mohawk Valley end up dying in a fire, which is exactly what he had to deal with in January of 2019.

His mom said that he had a birthday a couple of weeks after his friend dyed in that blaze, and he wanted to find a way to honor him, so he donated his birthday money to the Herkimer Fire Department for the acquisition of smoke detectors. His mother Amanda said, “It kind of spiraled and we were able to donate 600 smoke detectors to the Herkimer Elementary school last year.”

She said that the long-term goal is to keep the Brett Saunders Fire Safety program not only going, but growing. “This year we were able to acquire 700 smoke detectors and we’re going to donate 500 to the Benton Hall student body, and the rest will go to the Herkimer Elementary kindergarten class.”

Brett said, “I think that it’s a very good idea and I hope that all the kids use the smoke alarms and that no more fires happen in the Little Falls or Herkimer school districts.”

He went on to say, “I hope I can expand to Frankfort and Ilion and all the other school districts around Herkimer and Little Falls. I think it’s exciting to see all the firefighters and watch all the kids use the smoke alarms.”

Brett’s Aunt Amy Spytko donated all of the smoke detectors this year because she was unsure of how COVID restrictions would affect Brett’s ability to raise money for the project. Amanda said, “My sister knew how important the program was to Brett, so she donated all the smoke detectors with help from Mike Snyder with Guardian Protection. None of this would have been possible without their help.”

The delivery of the smoke detectors has been delayed until November because of COVID production issues, and they will be distributed as soon as they arrive.

Photo by Dave Warner – Benton Hall kindergarten students participate in Fire Prevention Week activities with members of the Little Falls Fire Department.