It’s Fire Prevention Week once again and the Sunny South News would like to say thank you to all the dedicated firefighters, both paid and volunteer, in Lethbridge County including Barons, Nobleford, Picture Butte and Coaldale. Your hard work, long hours and compassion keeps the county alive — at times, quite literally.
Residents of rural southern Alberta rely on volunteer fire departments for both medical and fire services — night or day, on holidays and in the dead of a bitter cold Alberta winter or extremely high temperature summer’s day. Many lives have been saved and fires extinguished because of the top-notch volunteer service provided by humble and helpful women and men, out in the trenches putting out fires and on southern Alberta roads providing first-response when Lethbridge County residents are in dire need. Thank you and keep up the fantastic and incredible job you do.
Volunteer fire departments are a lifeline, they are the “Who ya gonna call?” in an emergency. Alberta Health Services (AHS) owes volunteer fire departments in rural areas an insurmountable amount of gratitude for the services they provide, because without ‘em — rural Lethbridge County would be up Shitt’s Creek, so to speak. With the divesting of many an ambulance service in small towns across southern Alberta — ambulance service isn’t what it used to be, so who picks up the slack in times of need? Rural volunteer fire departments — that’s who. First-responders, or volunteer firefighters, are there when the going gets bad or worse. Be it a small fire in a barn or an entire field engulfed in flames or a person going into cardiac arrest or a major MVC on a rural highway in the middle of nowhere — it’s the volunteer fire department to the rescue, no questions asked. It can be, at times, a thankless job but thanks again volunteer firefighters for all you do to keep Lethbridge County residents safe.
Fire Prevention Week is good to reiterate safety and raise awareness for various issues but volunteer firefighters should be remembered all year long because they play one of the most important parts in a cash-strapped society — they help those in need, which could be any one of us at any given time. It could be driving to work on slippery roads, sitting at the kitchen table cooking and/or eating a Thanksgiving feast or playing hockey at the local rink — accidents happen. Fires also happen, without much given notice. So, today if you see one of your community’s volunteer firefighters or a fire chief — say thanks and tell her/him you appreciate the commitment and selflessness a firefighter contributes to the community. Donate to local fire departments, so departments can purchase new and much needed equipment to help serve its communities.
During Fire Prevention Week take the time to become reacquainted with fire safety, teach children about smoke detectors and family safety and home escape plans and check fire extinguishers and batteries in smoke alarms.
Check out this year’s Fire Prevention Week special section. It features interviews with the fire chiefs from the Coaldale, Picture Butte, Nobleford and Barons fire departments.
This year’s special section also has group pictures of the various departments within the county plus an interview with the county’s Emergency Services Co-ordinator Darryl Beaton. There are also great action shots submitted by fire departments in your community, stories and fire safety awareness tips.
Fire Prevention Week is about preventing fires and accidents before they happen and how to deal with them if they do. It’s also a time to thank those who help fight fires and save lives.