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Talking it over - 10-7-10

This is Fire Prevention Week - a time to learn more about preventing fires, planning escape routes and educating children and adults about how to respond to fire emergencies. However, it is also a time to recognize and thank the men and women who put out those fires and respond to the emergency calls.

Being a firefighter is a lot of work. In rural areas the Fire Department members are called volunteers because the pay they receive is very minimal compared to the time and dedication given toward the position. Fire Department members not only respond to fires but also go through weeks of extensive trainings, work at fundraisers and educate the public through school visits and open houses. They lead our parades and escort our state-bound athletes. They keep equipment clean and in working order. Their original training is refreshed and added to with monthly meetings and drills.

In reality fighting fires is a small part of the duties for firefighter but it is the most important. When that pager goes off and the fire department responds, they are leaving jobs, loved ones and risking lives to put out fires. They are protecting our homes, our towns, our equipment and even our farms and fields. They are assisting other emergency responders at accident scenes and protecting us from unseen dangers. They could also be traveling miles to assist other departments with equipment and manpower.

If you have ever had to make that emergency call to a fire department, you will know what it feels like to hear those sirens coming closer. You can attest to the flood of relief as those men jump off the trucks and unfurl the hoses letting the water flow, diffusing a scary situation. You may have even watched them put on those big coats, boots and air tanks and watched them enter a building searching for possible victims.

There could never be enough words of thanks for fire department personnel. They are a unique group of individuals who give a piece of their lives to help others. However, those two little words may just mean a lot to them so with heartfelt gratitude, I say "thank you".