Everyone can be a first responder

An Editorial of The Luverne Journal

During a recent interview with Lowndes County volunteer firefighter Dennis Blair, he mentioned the shortage of emergency responders. Butler County volunteer fireman and fire association president Keith Foster expresses the same frustration – it’s hard to recruit and keep volunteers.

Fire departments are not alone, helping organizations all over have experienced a drop in volunteers.

First responders – law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical personnel – receive special training to ensure their safety and that of those they help. Whether they are volunteers or professionals, they complete life-saving training for responding in emergency situations. But, did you know that everyone, anyone can help with response efforts?

Blair explained that volunteer fire departments, like the one in Lowndesboro where he volunteers, need community members willing to receive training and then respond to help their neighbors at all times of the day or night.

He also emphasized that white trained personnel are vital to the successful execution of the mission, there are countless ways everyone is already equipped to give aid.

For example, a local minister or other person of faith can offer words of encouragement and comfort to the ones experiencing a tragic event. These people can simply listen to or pray with people in life’s most difficult moments.

Others can deliver water to first responders on the scene. A man or woman may not be able to employ the jaws of life to extract a victim from a burning vehicle, but anyone can provide a bottle of cool water.

Some community members are skilled in organization. Others have the gift of compassion. Some have the strength, skill, and passion for entering a burning home to save a trapped resident and many can help with fundraisers and the events which support response operations.

The point is this – there is a place for everyone willing to help their community. Volunteer fire departments need committed volunteers and it’s a good place to engage in the business of helping one’s neighbor.

All kinds of helping organizations need volunteers too. They are easy to find and always “hiring” helpers. Anyone looking to volunteer with a local organization can reach out to us at news@luvernejournal.com for more information.