VANDALIA — Lion Apparel is known for its life-saving protective clothing that the company makes for firefighters.
On Monday, employees of the company donated $1,250 to the Vandalia Division of Fire for the purchase of smoke detectors in Vandalia homes.
Steve Schwartz, CEO and Co-Owner of Lion Group, Inc. presented the donation to Vandalia Fire Chief Chad Follick in front of dozens of employees at the company’s offices on Poe Avenue in Vandalia.
Schwartz praised the company’s employees for their donations.
“I think it is a great statement from our employees about their sense of corporate responsibility, a sense of giving back to the community,” said Schwartz. “It is part of our culture, and I’m very proud of that.”
The funds for the donation was raised through “Jeans Day” at the company. Employees can wear blue jeans once a month in exchange for a $55 charitable donation. The company then matches a portion of that donation and a charity is selected for the contribution annually.
“We were not aware that Vandalia had a program to replace aging or non-working smoke detectors,” said Schwartz. “We are a safety company and like to be involved in charitable things that relate to first responders.”
The donation will pay for about 40 smoke detectors, some of which will be combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors according to Chief Follick.
He said that while smoke detectors are key components to protecting residents in a fire, they also play a role in protecting firefighters.
“It’s not just the citizen that benefits from smoke detectors,” said Follick. “The earlier the detection of the fire or smoke, the smaller the fire is in general and gets us there faster which ultimately protects firefighters from being injured.”
Follick said that when a person is not out of a fire, by the time fire personnel respond the situation is deteriorating rapidly.
“That puts our guys in danger, but the quicker we get there the better the situation for both citizens and firefighters,” he said.
Follick said he is grateful for the donation from Lion Apparel as well as other companies who have donated funds for smoke detectors.
“They are a great partner with us,” he said. “They (Lion) are not only located in the city, but they provide our protective gear as well. This is a great customer service tool that we can go out and do these things (install smoke detectors.)”