Lubbock first responder families urge participation in 5-5-5 Safety initiative

Lubbock first responder families urge participation in 5-5-5 Safety initiative - new version

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The 5-5-5 Safety initiative began shortly after Mark and Susan Hill laid their son, Lubbock Fire Lieutenant Eric Hill, to rest in January. Several months later, the campaign has evolved to allow for ways the public can apply the steps to everyday life and show they are taking part.

“It’s five ways to stay safe,” Mark said. “You need to plan. You need to act. Of course, we always want to be hugging the people that we love. So, it can fit into work, at home, all kinds of different things to think about. It’s just trying to be safe.”

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Mark and Susan told KCBD in late January they came up with the idea after five bells were rung three times at Lt. Hill’s funeral. It signified the fallen firefighter.

“We started this program because we do not want any family to go through what we did on January 11,” Susan said. “We want to protect our first responders and any worker that’s on the side of the road. We just want each family just to remember the first responders families. I know it’s easy to forget and just go back on your way, not remember to slow down and be careful. But, our lives have changed.”

A large focus of the initiative is on first responders who are working scenes on our roadways, since more tragic accidents are becoming prevalent across the nation. The hope is to spread more awareness and this campaign.

“Accidents are happening, deaths are happening and families are having to go through this,” Susan said. “We want to remember Matt and Eric. But, now our program and our goal is to help other people.”

Firefighter Matt Dawson was injured in the January 11th accident that took the lives of Lt. Hill and Lubbock Police Officer Nicholas Reyna. He continues to recover from his injuries in a Colorado hospital. His wife, Chanda, is joining the Hill family in the 5-5-5 initiative.

“You don’t really think about things like this happening in your life,” Chanda said. “It’s great for them to bring light to this, to get it out to the public and just make people aware. It’s not just for first responders even, you know, TxDOT and other states, people that are working on the side of the road, we’re just trying to keep them safe.”

You signify your participation in the program with a sticker on your vehicle or other property. The hope is to also provide bracelets and other items to the public to remind them to be safe.

“I know it’s something silly, but every day I’m in the car I’m looking for those stickers,” Susan said. “I actually have not seen one, yet. I know that seems so small but I get phone calls, even from family and friends that said, ‘I remembered. I slowed down today.’ I think if you see that sticker or wear those bracelets that we’re going to try to get out, I think that is a simple reminder. I want to see that sticker. Do that for for us but do that for the loved ones out there.”

The two families also want this 5-5-5 campaign to be a way for the firefighters’ daughters to see the impact their fathers made.

“Presley, she wants to be a firefighter when she grows up,” Chanda said. “If she follows through with that, then this is a message that I would want to follow behind her up that career path.”

“We want to keep this message out there,” Mark said. “We want it so when the girls grow up, they can still be involved in this and know what heroes their dads really were.”

You can find stickers and other resources on the 555 Safety website, click here. Stickers are currently free. However, you’re asked to make a donation.

To follow 555 Safety on social media, click here.

Chanda tells KCBD that Matt is doing well in his recovery. She said he is currently fighting an infection but hasn’t fallen back in the progress he’s made.

“He’s kicking butt in therapy,” Chanda said. “Matt’s a fighter and he’s strong. We’re still kind of waiting for that short-term memory to kick in. That’s kind of where we’re asking for prayers right now. With a brain injury, everything is one day at a time, and it’ll get there. He’s already made a remarkable recovery from these injuries and we’re so thankful for the community and all the support that everyone has given us, especially our fire family.”

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