Emergency staff aim to make holidays safe

Christmas for most is a time to forget about work and spend time with family friends, and perhaps a nice glass of egg nog.

  • Dec. 19, 2013 5:00 a.m.
RESCUE EFFORT - Lacombe Fire Lt. Mark Low saws the windshield off of a vehicle to allow a trapped passenger to get out after a crash last week. The vehicle came to rest on its side after rolling into the ditch along Hwy. 2 but no one was injured.

RESCUE EFFORT - Lacombe Fire Lt. Mark Low saws the windshield off of a vehicle to allow a trapped passenger to get out after a crash last week. The vehicle came to rest on its side after rolling into the ditch along Hwy. 2 but no one was injured.

Christmas for most is a time to forget about work and spend time with family friends, and perhaps a nice glass of egg nog.

However, there are those, such as the men and women who work in Lacombe’s emergency services, who don’t get the day off.

Police Chief Steve Murray said that for police officers, working during holidays is something they have gotten used to.

“This is the nature of our beast, this is what we do.” He added that, while most Lacombe police officers have accepted that working during holidays is part of their job, it still can be quite hard on the families of those members.

Fire Chief Ed Van Delden said that while the Lacombe Fire Department is a volunteer department and there will be no one in the hall on Christmas Day, should any fire calls come in then or at any time during the holidays, fire crews will promptly put the turkey down and dash to the hall to provide their services.

“Certainly I have been away from home for the whole day (on Christmas Day) in the past,” said Van Delden. “That happens. Rarely, but it does.”

He added that Lacombe Fire Department has a no-alcohol policy for on-call crews.

In order to give its members some sense of family time during Christmas, Lacombe Police Service encourages officers working on Christmas Day to come in for their shift, get geared up, take a patrol car home and try to enjoy the day with family. However, Murray said that members are also advised not to make plans for Christmas Day if they are working.

For police working during the week of Christmas, particularly Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it is a “Feast or famine” situation, said Murray. He said that there will either be a lot of calls of a very serious nature, or very few calls at all.

“Little things don’t happen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, people don’t call the police over little stuff,” said Murray. “So if we are responding to a call Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, sadly, it is going to be a tragedy.”

Murray said it is a sad reality that calls relating to domestic violence, family violence, even suicides and drinking and driving go up during the holiday seasons. All of which can have drastic consequences.

“One of the worst things to have to do as a member at Christmas is to tell the family that someone has died,” said Murray.

Christmas is also a period for high-volumes of traffic on the highways as people travel to leave or get home for Christmas. Murray said that police officers understand that drivers just want to get where they are going to spend time with their families, but the nerves of drivers in a hurry can increase the chance of collisions. As such, police will try to temper their approach to dealing with problem drivers.

“It’s not going to be a big ticket time, it’s going to be a big education time,” said Murray.

He added that it is still important to stop those irresponsible drivers, but sometimes speaking to a police officer for 10 minutes is enough to get drivers to calm down. Murray also said that, while police may try to be more lenient during the Christmas season with tickets, they will still hand them out if necessary.

Both Murray and Van Delden said that expectations of Christmas and rushing to meet them are major contributors to accidents of all kinds over the holiday season. Van Delden said that preparation far in advance of Christmas can help people to have a safe holiday and Murray said that, if possible, off-setting your family Christmas celebration by a day or two is a good way to avoid the rush.

“People’s minds, they are preoccupied,” said Van Delden. “If they can take five minutes and just do that assessment that would go a long ways.”



Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read