Kids learn life-saving lessons

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Kindergarteners at Alabaster’s Meadow View Elementary School learned life-saving lessons Oct. 17 while getting an up-close look at some heavy-duty equipment.

Throughout the day, Alabaster firefighters toured the school talking to kindergarten classes in observance of Fire Prevention Month. All month, the city’s firefighters are visiting classes in Alabaster’s schools to teach kids what to do in case of a fire, and are sharing tips to help keep families safer.

During the Oct. 17 visit, Alabaster firefighter Jamada Green showed MVES kindergarteners a smoke detector, and explained the importance of regularly testing the devices.

“I’m going to give you some homework. When you go home today, get your parents to help you test all the smoke alarms in your house,” Green said. “If you ever hear the alarm go off, get out of the house as quickly as possible.”

Green encouraged the kids to set up an emergency meeting place outside their homes so they can reunite with their families in case of a fire.

“If your parents get outside and they can’t find you, they are going to try to run back inside the house,” Green said. “Your parents need to know where you will be.”

If fire is near their bedroom door, Green encouraged the kids to keep the door closed and stay low to avoid smoke inhalation. He said the Alabaster Fire Department has “very good response times” to anywhere in the city, and said firefighters will quickly work to rescue anyone trapped inside a burning house.

Firefighter Shawn Barr suited up in full firefighting gear – including an oxygen tank and mask – to familiarize the kids with what they may see if they are rescued from an emergency situation.

“It’s important that you know what we look like and that you aren’t afraid of us,” Green said.

The kids quickly shouted “Stop, drop and roll!” when asked what to do if their clothes ever catch on fire, and knew to dial 911 in case of an emergency.

Following the classroom visit, the kids stepped outside to get an up-close look at one of the department’s fire trucks. Firefighters showed the kids how the department fills the truck with “750 bathtubs of water,” and said a new fire truck can cost nearly $600,000.

“We really appreciate the school system letting us come in and talk to the kids,” said Alabaster Battalion Chief Jim Golden. “It’s important that we get out there and familiarize ourselves with the kids.”