December 1, 2012

Citizens of the Week: Station 8 responders

Family members didn’t know what to think when Whitfield County resident Elsie Babb passed out in her kitchen last week and had slurred speech when she finally came to enough to make a call for help.

“My sister called her and knew something wasn’t right because of her slurred speech,” said Jenny Hayes, one of Babb’s daughters. “She then called another sister who lives next door to her and asked her to go and check on our mother. She found her very disoriented and sick.”

Another family member was called in, checked Babb’s vitals and decided to call 911. When responders from Whitfield County Fire Station 8 arrived, they didn’t know what was wrong and were waiting for an ambulance, Hayes said.

“On instinct, one of the firefighters, Chris Dempsey, asked about a carbon monoxide detector,” Hayes said. “They decided to check the CO2 (carbon monoxide) levels in the house, just to be safe.”

What they discovered may have helped save Babb from another close call. The house contained dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas that can come from a natural gas leak. Firefighters Dempsey, Alan Gallman, Wesley Williams and Vernon Ray stayed at the house, ventilating it and monitoring it until the carbon monoxide levels were down. They even had another monitor brought in to ensure they weren’t getting a false reading.

The family had the heater serviced and the gas leak repaired, then the firefighters returned and checked that all the carbon monoxide was gone.

Hayes said the family thanks the firefighters for “trusting their instincts” and not leaving the carbon monoxide levels to chance.

For their thoroughness in handling what could have been a deadly situation, The Daily Citizen names the Station 8 responders Citizens of the Week.

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