First responder vehicles, resources on display at National Night Out
Published 5:12 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Lights flashing and sirens blaring intermittently, more than a dozen first responder vehicles lined up in the parking lot of the Chelsea Walmart off U.S. 280 on the night of Oct. 6.
But they weren’t responding to an emergency. The vehicles, along with many law enforcement officers, first responders and volunteers with about 20 agencies, were on hand to talk to the public about their services and offer an up-close look at their equipment as part of National Night Out, an annual event.
“It’s been a real great night for us,” Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley said. “It’s been a really fun evening. I’ve been very happy with the turnout.”
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Chelsea Fire and Rescue, Chelsea Citizen Observer Patrol, Cahaba Valley and Westover fire departments brought their vehicles – fire engines, patrol cars, a marine patrol boat and a helicopter.
SCSO Capt. Jeff Hartley, who pilots the Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter with Lt. Dennis Blackerby, said the new acquisition, as of August, will allow officers to conduct search and rescue, drug task force and surveillance missions with greater efficiency.
“We’re going to have a lot of missions,” Hartley said. “The sheriff wants to extend the reach of the Sheriff’s Office. We do what the officers on the ground do, only a little bit higher.”
The Chelsea fire department helped families install child safety seats in their cars, passed out free bike helmets provided by Cory Watson PC in Birmingham and programmed people’s weather radios for them.
American Red Cross representatives talked to visitors about a smoke detector program in which fire department employees will install the devices in people’s homes, free of charge, and go over a fire evacuation plan with the homeowners.
Other organizations and businesses present included the Yellow Dot Program, Grandview Medical Center, Chick-fil-A, SafeHouse and Owens House.
“I enjoy all of this,” Shirley said of the event. “I’ve been doing it a long time, but I enjoy it.”