OKLAHOMA CITY — A Northwest Classen mother is expressing her concerns over the school’s fire safety plans.
A recent school fire drill revealed to Misty Wainman that her 14-year-old, who is confined to a wheelchair, had no way of evacuating from her 2nd floor classroom.
Madridd Brisboe enjoys her life at Northwest Classen High School and loves cheering for the school’s football team despite her disability.
After Thursday’s fire drill, that love turned to fear and concern.
“I asked this one teacher; I said, ‘where am I supposed to go?’” asked Brisboe. “He said let’s go on the elevator and use it because it’s not a real fire.”
In the event of a real fire the elevators wouldn’t work for Madridd.
She says the school told her she would have to stay on the second floor until help arrived.
“It’s really hard for me,” says Brisboe. “I will panic if a fire is next to me.”
Her mother Misty Wainman went to the school district and was shocked when they told her the same thing.
“This was not something I expected,” says Wainman. “I assumed all schools should have some sort of plan for all students whether they’re disabled or not.”
In a statement, a district spokesperson tells NewsChannel 4 since Thursday’s drill, “The principal has met with Wainman and has communicated a new safety plan for Madridd.”
Wainman says, “The plan is that a teacher from upstairs would notify a couple of coaches downstairs to come upstairs to lift her and bring her down.”
The Oklahoma City Fire Department disagrees with that plan. Department officials are encouraging the school to keep Madridd in the stairwell until firefighters arrive. They say that’s the safest option.
“Firefighters, by the time they get there, by the time the fire is burning,” says Wainman. “My daughter could burn to death.”
Oklahoma City Fire Prevention tells me the stairwells are built to code to be an “area of refuge” which would buy them time to get to Madridd.
Also, they can’t count on staff to fulfill that responsibility of carrying her downstairs.
They were concerned the school didn’t understand this plan and will be addressing the problem next week.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department has set up a drill for Madridd and her mother next week so that she and all disabled students in the two story schools feel more comfortable in the future. We will be there.