EDITORIAL: Firefighters deserve thanks

We have nothing but the utmost respect for our first responders here in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach region.

As members of the media we often find ourselves covering everything from crashes on Highway 19, to house or apartment fires to police investigations. But while it may seem like we cover a lot of those situations, we in fact only see a very small sampling of what our first responders do every day.

We can really only imagine what it’s like to do those jobs day in and day out.

Next week the public will have an opportunity to get a peek at some of the tools and methods used by local firefighters, as the area’s several volunteer fire departments host open houses to wrap up Fire Prevention Week.

Firefighters across the greater Parksville-Qualicum Beach region, from Nanoose Bay to Whiskey Creek to Deep Bay, work tirelessly to keep all residents safe.

Whether it’s responding to a serious medical incident, a fire or a car crash, our firefighters and other emergency personnel drop everything when a call comes in.

It’s also important to remember that a significant number of our first responders, especially in the fire service, are volunteers and they’re doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

They’ve missed birthdays, family dinners, big games and many little moments they can never get back. But they do it because they know just how much of an impact they have on our communities. It doesn’t help when the departments, particularly in the smaller, outlying communities, are struggling to recruit and retain new members.

Most area departments are actively recruiting, and next weekend’s open houses provide a great opportunity to ask questions and see if a volunteer firefighting position is right for you.

Firefighters and other first responders also spend significant amounts of time training and keeping up to date with the latest information. They see some pretty horrendous things, and there is the side of their job that makes it worth doing.

A small gesture of thanks goes a long way and it’s not something that gets overlooked, even if it’s just the look of relief on someone’s face.

So next time you’re stuck in traffic at a crash scene or miss a light because of an ambulance, just remember that they’re just trying to help someone and get home to their own families at the end of the day. So give them the space and courtesy they need to do their jobs.

It’s a line of work where every second counts, and they could literally be saving a life.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News