Girl calls 911 over mix-up
By By Arthur McLean Editor
It was a break-in that wasn't. Friday afternoon, Tierney Lancaster left her home on Robinsonville Road to check on her mother.
The brief trip to check on an ailing relative left her daughter, 13-year-old Tessa and a friend at home when a couple of strange men rang the doorbell.
Tessa didn't recognize the men, and as she'd been taught, she didn't open the door to them.
What happened next could be described as a mix up, but eveyone involved agreed 13-year-old Tessa did the right thing.
Shortly after the doorbell rang, Tessa and her friend heard the sound of breaking glass in the home. For all the world, it sounded like someone was trying to break into the house. Tessa picked up the phone and called 911, thinking the strangers who were at the door were now trying to get in her house.
Within minutes, the Atmore Police Department responded to the home, even though it was outside the city limits.
Tessa's grandfather, John Taylor heard about the commotion, and raced to the home to set things straight while contacting the police department.
As it turns out, the men were from Escambia Glass Company, and they were scheduled to come by the home to replace a damaged pane of glass at the home.
They simply had begun their work and were knocking the rest of the damaged pane out of the window.
Taylor called the police department and told them what was happening. By the time the police arrived, it wasn't a case of a home invasion/break-in at all.
It took a little time to calm Tessa down, but everyone agreed she did the right thing.
"She feels silly, but she did the right thing," her mother Tierney Lancaster said. "I'm just so thankfull to the Atmore Police Department for their response, even outside the city limits, and to the men at Escambia Glass for understanding and comforting her."
Brandon Phillips, at Escambia Glass agreed that Tessa did the right thing. "I guess she just didn't recognize us. She did the right thing considering everything that's happened lately."
Tierney Lancaster said, "I'm proud of her for the way she handled herself."
The national Safe Kids campaign offers the following tips for children staying at home for even brief periods of time.
Place all emergency numbers (doctor, hospital, police department, fire department, poison control center, EMS) and the phone number of a friend or neighbor in a visible place near all phones.
Point out potential hazards in your home such as electrical appliances and heating equipment and teach your child how to avoid injuries from them.
Make sure your child knows where the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are located and knows your fire escape plan. Remind your child to get out of the house immediately if the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm sounds and to call the fire department from a neighbor's house.
Plan and practice two escape routes out of the house and each room. It is important to have an alternate escape route in case one is blocked by fire.
Insist your child use the proper safety gear while cycling, in-line skating or skateboarding and that they always wear a helmet for these activities. Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and brain injury by as much as 88 percent.
Show your child where the first aid kit is and how to use the items in it.
Prepare a snack or meal for your child in advance, preferably one that does not need to be heated. If it must be heated, remind your child to turn off the oven or stove. Remind them to never leave a pot unattended while cooking.
Tell the child where you will be, how you can be reached and when you will return home.
If possible, leave your beeper or cellular phone number. Knowing your child can reach you in an instant will help put you, and your child, more at ease.