Firefighters’ efforts worth it

Fire Department Lt. Chip Brantley, left, shows local second-graders how to "Get low and go" during a visit to Meadow View Elementary on Nov. 25. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Fire Department Lt. Chip Brantley, left, shows local second-graders how to “Get low and go” during a visit to Meadow View Elementary on Nov. 25. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
When Alabaster Fire Marshal Capt. Skip Leslie recounted the importance of the department’s involvement with the city’s schools last week, I immediately remembered the incident he was referencing.
“We had one kid who went through it a few years ago, and his house caught fire a few months later. He used what he learned to get himself and his family out safely,” Leslie said.
Leslie was referencing a February 2012 incident at Lisa and Michael Davis’ house in Alabaster. A fire started in the middle of the night in the Davis’ home while Michael was out of town, causing the family’s smoke detector to sound and wake Lisa and her son, Tripp, who was 7 at the time.
“The response time for the fire department was four minutes,” Lisa Davis told me at the time. “The fire chief kept telling me how lucky we were that the fire alarm woke us up and got us out of there.”
Davis said the fire alarm may not have been functional had it not been for Tripp’s actions during the months leading up to the fire. Through the Cub Scouts and Alabaster Fire Department lessons at his school, Meadow View Elementary, Tripp learned the importance of regularly testing the smoke detectors in his house, formulating a fire escape plan and holding safety meetings with his parents.
After hearing firefighters speak at his school, Tripp regularly asked his parents to test the family’s smoke detectors, and encouraged family meetings to come up with an escape plan.
To this day, the city’s firefighters still point to Tripp Davis’ actions when highlighting the importance of teaching students how to react in a fire emergency.
Last week, the department spent time at MVES teaching children how to escape a smoke-filled house, and encouraged the kids to test their smoke detectors when they got home.
“Of all the kids who have been through here, if we save one life, it will be worth it,” Leslie said.
From what we’ve already seen, the firefighters’ efforts are certainly worth it.