Chronicle Editorial

Tip of the cap to area emergency personnel


     Last week provided local students, businesses and workers the opportunity to brush up on their safety skills during National Fire Prevention Week. The annual event focuses on raising awareness about what to do when the unthinkable happens, but it also gives us the chance to commend area emergency personnel for their service to the community.

     It's easy to forget about them. After all, it's not every day we have an emergency. However, the selfless commitment these men and women give to our communities shouldn't go unnoticed. Local EMT squads, fire departments and police officers dedicate countless hours to assure our safety and well being, and it's important to acknowledge their service on a year-round basis.

     Franklin County and the surrounding area have a rather strong network of emergency personnel. Numbers at most volunteer fire departments and EMT squads are surprisingly high compared to populations, and that's certainly commendable in this day and age. Busy work schedules, kids' extracurricular activities and other commitments often consume any spare time. However, our local volunteer firemen and EMTs are able to commit countless hours towards training and ongoing education to ensure our safety.

     National Fire Prevention Week always comes at a pertinent time in rural communities like ours. Harvest season provides numerous opportunities for traffic mishaps, fires and other emergencies. Conditions are just right for accidents to spring up – be it a combine fire or car/tractor collision on the highway. Our area's emergency personnel are always ready to respond to an incident no matter what the circumstance, and without their dedication and guidance, this time of the year would be even more hectic. It's great to know they have our backs in case something terrible happens.

     Nowhere was our emergency personnel's collective importance more evident than last June. A dangerous super cell thunderstorm ripped across the countryside, dropping numerous tornadoes that damaged farmsteads and other places throughout Franklin County. The storm's fury was a terrifying experience, but without the assistance of local police, fire departments and EMTs, the outcome could have been a lot worse. They monitored the situation and put themselves in the path of destruction to provide us with minute-by-minute updates of the storm's whereabouts. Their selfless efforts gave many people throughout Franklin County ample time to seek shelter and ride out the storm.

     Events like last June's storm are rare. However, they make us realize how important our local emergency crews are towards ensuring the safety of our communities. The individuals that comprise these groups could very well turn the other cheek and opt not to sacrifice their time and efforts, but they've decided to give back to the communities in which they live. It's definitely a lesson in which we all should take note.

     National Fire Prevention Week may have came and went, but it's important to remember the local emergency response crews that are ready to help us out every hour of every day of every month. Their services may be used sparingly, but that makes them no less vital. The safety and well being of our county's residents would be significantly jeopardized if it weren't for the unselfish efforts of these individuals.