Fire marshals address fire drill issues with disabled students in OKC Public Schools
OKLAHOMA CITY – The state’s largest school district is now addressing fire safety concerns from the mother of a disabled teenager.
Madridd Brisboe and her mother, Misty Wainman, learned during a recent fire drill at Northwest Classen that the school really didn’t have a plan to get her and the other handicapped students, who were on the second floor, to safety.
“I asked this one teacher, I said, ‘Where am I supposed to go?” says Brisboe. “He said, ‘Let’s go on the elevator and use it because it’s not a real fire.”
The entire elevator ride down, Madridd told that teacher they need a better plan.
Wainman went to her daughter’s principal again Wednesday morning and asked, “In the event of a fire, do you have a plan for Madridd?”
She says he still didn’t know but fire marshals assured her that every principal in the district will know after Wednesday.
When Madridd’s mother told us her story, she also got the attention of fire marshals.
Wednesday morning, fire safety experts met with Wainman, hoping to address her concerns.
Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Kellie Sawyers, with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, says, “We’re updating plans all the time.”
Chief J. Kevin Berry, with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, says, “A drill brought to light a flaw. That’s why I say thank you and we’re addressing the flaw.”
In the event of a fire, fire marshals want Madridd to evacuate to a stairwell if she’s on the second floor.
It’s built as an area of refuge until firefighters can arrive on the scene.
“At the beginning I did not feel like I was getting 100 percent reassurance,” says Wainman. “As the meeting progressed and they went through, towards the end I felt better.”
Fire marshals now want to make sure administrators at Northwest Classen know what to do.
Sawyers said, “This plan is required. It needs to be current. It needs to meet the current situation at the school.”
The group met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon with district principals.
We’re told the fire safety plan was addressed.
This mother wants to see the changes for herself.
“The reassurance of their actions being put behind their words,” says Wainman. “That’s what I’m waiting on.”
Wainman hopes she and Madridd will get that reassurance when the school has a do another fire drill later this week.
After the meeting between principals and fire marshals, district officials said it is important that everyone understand and can effectively communicate the processes they learned.