Editorial

Jobs well done by emergency personnel

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Shelbyville Fire Department's emphasis on training, as shown by this sign on the back of a truck, paid off Monday. Firefighters were able to take a breather at this point after safely extinguishing most of the Southern Energy blaze which threatened downtown Shelbyville. (T-G Photo by David Melson)

A potential shooter thought to be possibly on the loose in a high school -- with anxious parents, some panicking, outside.

Substances leaking toward the city's main water treatment facility moments after a large explosion at a gas company -- next door to a animal shelter, two doors down from a detention center and two blocks from a school.

Police Chief Austin Swing, left, and Chief Deputy David Williams Jr. prepare to enter Central High School moments after a gunman was falsely reported inside the building. (T-G Photo by David Melson)

Lives at stake. Dangerous situations requiring quick action.

And, amidst the danger, Shelbyville and Bedford County's emergency workers and school officials bravely stepping head-on into the unknown.

Anyone who doubted Shelbyville's ability to handle disasters received a first-hand lesson during last Friday's thankfully-false call of an armed student at Central High School and Monday's explosion at Southern Energy.

Emergency crews were on hand within moments at both locations, with disaster plans in full force.

On Friday, emergency workers -- including at least one police officer with a child in Central High -- and school officials cautiously rushed into the school, risking their lives to save others' lives if necessary. School personnel -- from the superintendent to individual staff members -- did their part to protect students.

Within minutes Monday, firefighters were taking on the Southern Energy fire, coming as near as possible to flaming tanks of then-unknown substances. Shelbyville's fire department places great emphasis on training, and Fire Chief Ricky McConnell repeatedly reminded his crews to be careful Monday. But risks are inherent in firefighting. They put their lives on the line to protect others.

Bedford County firefighters and officials, including Mayor Eugene Ray, pitched in to help the city in a true team effort.

Even animals were protected as volunteers helped Bedford County Animal Control remove dogs from its facility next door to Southern Energy.

Fire Chief Ricky McConnell communicates with a firefighter on the other side of Southern Energy as Assistant Police Chief Mike Rogers follows. With back to camera is City Manager Jay Johnson. (T-G Photo by David Melson)

Officials had completed a drill on school shootings days before, school board members said Tuesday night, and the training came in handy last Friday.

Emergency workers met Wednesday afternoon to review how the incidents were handled. We hope they took time to reflect on jobs well done.Police Chief Austin Swing, left, and Chief Deputy David Williams Jr. prepare to enter Central High School moments after a gunman was falsely reported inside the building.

Fire Chief Ricky McConnell communicates with a firefighter on the other side of Southern Energy as Assistant Police Chief Mike Rogers follows. With back to camera is City Manager Jay Johnson.

Shelbyville Fire Department's emphasis on training, as shown by this sign on the back of a truck, paid off Monday. Firefighters were able to take a breather at this point after safely extinguishing most of the Southern Energy blaze which threatened downtown Shelbyville

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