First responders, in all of their various forms, play an extremely important role in communities.
During this Fire Prevention Week, members of fire detachments will take extra care to patrol neighbourhoods and check in with community members about safety and prevention, while also responding to any immediate incidents in the area, day or night.
As roads turn icy with winter weather, RCMP and Police detachment members will take hundreds of extra calls to attend collisions and make sure those involved are safe, cared for and taken care of.
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Responders/Technicians (EMRs/EMTs) will often attend both fire and RCMP/police calls, as well as hundreds of their on-going emergency health calls.
First responders, in any case, attend a scene to perform a needed service in the community. They attend calls for crimes, collisions, welfare checks on senior citizens and much more.
As well, members of RCMP, Police, Fire and EMS all regularly attend community events to connect with their communities. In Lacombe, members of Lacombe Police and Fire regularly take part in parades, charity fundraisers and other community activities so that citizens know familiar faces in times of need.
There are many challenges that come with these jobs. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been widely documented in first responders, from medical personnel to police and fire. These service men and women are often faced with extremely difficult scenarios during which they must assess, act and react to a variety of circumstances.
Many of these first-on-scene jobs can be traumatizing, painful events – but someone has to take a position of authority to pull through to a resolution. All first-responders are trained to offer a professional service, but many also go the extra mile of making sure that victims and witnesses feel they have had their needs met and have been treated with respect.
As this week marks Fire Prevention Week, take time to greet local firefighters in the community – many of whom are volunteers. They are fathers, sons, wives and daughters of families within our community who commit to responding in times of need.
Our own Lacombe Fire Department is currently working on an international project of bringing needed fire safety equipment to Paraguay. Their care and engagement extends far beyond our City limits and into the lives of families in other countries. In addition to the high demands of the local community, their team is reaching out to build connections and capability in communities that are not as well taken care of as Lacombe.
Lacombe is lucky to have its own police facility, as it provides an added level of comfort to see familiar faces in the case of an emergency. Lacombe Police Service (LPS) members are currently working to get into their new facility next week, which will enable them to better meet the needs of citizens.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) attend a huge variety of calls, from elderly welfare checks to broken bones at a sporting event. They also provide attendance in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations to ensure the safety of all citizens.
This week, take some time to appreciate those people who are first on the scene of not only emergency events, but who also take time to be present in the everyday lives of the community. Not all communities are as readily equipped to handle disaster as Lacombe and its surrounding area.