When Suffolk Count Police Officer Avital Donnenfeld noticed smoke coming from a West babylon home in the early morning hours of December 31st, he sprung into action, waking the family and helping to evacuate their home.
On Tuesday, Officer Donnenfeld was reunited with the Hoffmans at a ceremony on Tuesday where he was recognized as a hero by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.
At about 3:55am, Officer Donnenfeld was on routine patrol when he discovered the smoke at 197 Ecker Avenue. He then assisted Jason and Theresa Hoffman and their two sons, Nicholas and Ian, as they escaped the house.
“Situations like this serve as a reminder for families to make sure you have an emergency plan in place,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in a statement on his Facebook page. “As part of your home escape plan, create and outside meeting place a safe distance from the home where everyone can meet. And always remember to check your smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm has the potential to save lives by quickly alerting you of an emergency.”
He also urged people to create a Smart911 safety profile on www.Smart911.com to give 9-1-1 operators valuable information about yourself, family members, your home, pets and even vehicles that will automatically display on the 9-1-1 call taker's screen when you make an emergency call to save valuable seconds or even minutes during an emergency.