Mark esker

“My life was forever changed in a split second. Fire sprinklers saved my life and activated before I could even think!”

Mark was 18 years old, a recent high school graduate, excited to go on to college. One unimaginably frightening night, while working at his summer job, he was burned almost 70% of his body in a gas explosion and fire. Life would never be the same and he had less than a 20% chance to survive. Thankfully, Mark had a “chance”, because fire sprinklers did their job!

After years of painful surgeries, skin grafts and therapy, Mark thrived, and went on to earn a Master’s in Social Work. Since then, he has helped thousands of people to cope with their own struggles, working in several Non-Profits.

Recently, Mark served as the Education Director (for a Burn Non-Profit), providing over 200 presentations a year on Burn Safety, Prevention and Survival (reaching over 5,000 attendees per year). Mark provided Peer Support to multiple hospitals and burn survivors, focusing on hope, compassion and survival skills.

Mark has also worked for several local hospitals, serving in Rehabilitation and Medical/Surgical. Mark has over 15 years of experience on Senior safety and Dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease) issues, providing numerous presentations.

Currently, Mark is an Adjunct Professor for Missouri Baptist University, teaching a course in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department (graduate level Social Work class on groups, organizations and communities). Mark serves as a Burn Safety Advocate for the St. Louis Fire Sprinkler Alliance (and National Fire Sprinkler Alliance).

Mark is extremely thankful that sprinklers helped save his life, as he is a proud parent of 3 kids (a 4th year Medical student, a NCAA D2 athlete, and his youngest is Student Body President). One of Mark’s inspiring comments state: “We all carry around scars! Some are visible (like burns), while others are hidden within us. I do not let the burns define my life – they only tell a small fraction of the story. I refuse to be a victim and choose to be a survivor. We thrive when we can see life as a gift, despite our scars. I am living proof that sprinklers save lives!”