Jeff’s Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Tina’s Hometown: Lone Rock, Wisconsin
Jeff: “When I was only six weeks old, I was severely burned by a fire that occurred when my unsupervised three- and four-year-old brothers got a hold of a lighter and lit some bedroom curtains on fire. My siblings fled the scene and there was a delay in rescuing me from the fire. The fire was so intense that it caused third- and fourth-degree burns over 38 percent of my body and burning through a portion of my cranial bone. The incident led to an initial hospitalization of four months. Since then, my burn injuries and recovery have been part of my life, shaping it and the way in which I interact with people. In my first 25 years of life, I’ve dealt with the challenges of being legally blind and have undergone approximately 89 reconstructive surgeries in four states, accumulating well over $10 million in medical costs. Now I try to give back to the burn community by volunteering at the burn camp I attended for 11 years. And since many people do not give much thought to fire safety in their daily lives until it’s too late, I advocate for fire sprinklers and fire safety to help others avoid similar injuries to mine. Residential fire sprinklers, in particular, are valuable protective devices that can protect one’s family.”
Tina: “While working in a burn unit in 1992, we received word of a horribly burned six-week-old boy arriving by helicopter. It was that day that I met Jeff (though that was not his name at the time). After months of surgeries, discharge planning began for Jeff. The planning was complicated because he still needed ongoing medical care with frequent returns to the hospital or specialty clinics, and also because his birth family had become almost entirely removed from the situation. The social workers’ best solution was to place him in a pediatric nursing home. It was a heartbreaking feeling for those of us who worked so hard to get him to that point; we thought he may regress. It gnawed at my every thought until I came up with a better solution — to become Jeff’s medical foster parent and bringing him home. Later, our family legally adopted him. For me, it has been an eye-opening journey. My patients typically get to a certain point of recovery where they transfer out and we do not hear from them again as they get their lives back. Helping Jeff through his recovery taught me how much there was to still learn about the continuing care needed for a burn survivor. It took a lot of research and legwork, even for a healthcare professional, but now my experience can help others better navigate the journey. My occupation and experiences have led me to become a firm believer in flame arresters and fire sprinklers. Flame arresters would benefit people of all ages who are burned each year in gasoline fires. And installing fire sprinklers in new homes can prevent and eliminate an overwhelming number of fire disasters.”
- Volunteers for the Alliance for Fire Safety (part of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation), as well as the organization’s Summer Camp for Burn-Injured Youth
- Spoke at legislative hearings for Wisconsin state law that requires fire sprinklers in new multifamily residences with three units and greater
- Spoke at Wisconsin legislative hearings during multiple attempts to ban the sale of novelty lighters to minors and prohibit the display for retail sale of these lighters
In the News
- “Wisconsin Burn Survivor’s Story and Fire Sprinkler Advocacy Earn Award from Wisconsin Broadcasting Association,” National Fire Sprinkler Association – Wisconsin Chapter press release, May 7, 2015.
- “Meet Burn Survivor Jeff Jordan, An Important Voice in the Push for Home Fire Sprinklers,” NFPA Fire Sprinkler Initiative, February 18, 2015.
- “Tim’s Travels: Burn Survivor,” WMTV-TV (Madison, WI), September 17, 2012.