Fire tower will help keep us safe

Published 3:15 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Many of us have stories of losing our homes and possessions to a house fire. Faulty wiring, a kitchen accident, a July 4th celebration gone wrong.

All such stories include the tragic details of losing family photos, treasured keepsakes and the like. Far too many of these stories include the loss of life and leave the wounds on families impossible to heal.

All firefighters will tell you their first priority on a fire call is to prevent the loss of life, both for the occupants and for those fighting the fire. Their training, background and focus all center on this one prevailing goal.

It is no surprise that the focus to prevent loss of life is also shared by county and local governments in how they fund firefighting efforts in our community. Perhaps the greatest example of their commitment to keeping residents of Shelby County safe from fire came earlier this week as Shelby County and municipal officials dedicated a new fire-training tower in Calera. The $1.3 million tower, complete with five stories and all the structural components of buildings firefighters might face on a call, is one-of-a-kind in Alabama.

Municipal and volunteer firefighters from across the county will use the facility to train in realistic situations. Smoke-filled rooms and engulfing flames require little more than a flip of a switch, giving firefighters unmatched training opportunities.

Some 24 groups, from city, county and volunteer organizations, worked together to plan and fund the new facility, which shows how important residents’ safety is to our local leaders.

This new facility should further that shared goal of preventing the loss of life in Shelby County. Those lives saved also serve as a living example of what cooperation among local governments can accomplish.