As communities sleep, our heroes protect us
At about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, we were reminded once again of the dedication of our Fredericksburg fire fighters, both paid and volunteer.
The emergency scanner broke the silence of the night and reported a fire at a residence off Lower Crabapple Road. Our dedicated men and women were soon on their way to the scene.
Temperatures were frigid — and had dipped below the freezing mark. To complicate matters, the homeowner’s ammunition rounds were going off from the heat. Fire also was getting near a propane tank and climbing a utility pole.
How’s that for a start to the morning?
In 1733, Benjamin Franklin sought improvements to Philadelphia’s firefighting efforts, noting that goodwill and amateur firefighters were not enough.
He suggested a “club or society of active men belonging to each fire engine; whose business it is to attend all fires with it whenever they happen.”
In 1796, 30 men came together to form the Union Fire Company. They collected leather buckets to hold water during fires and met monthly to talk about fire prevention and fire-fighting methods.
This was the precursor to today’s volunteer fire departments, like those here in Gillespie County and in rural towns all over the state.
Franklin also worked through his publications to educate readers about the disposal of hot coals and suggested chimney sweeps be licensed by the city and held responsible for their work, with the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
And it’s not only the nightly calls that firefighters jump up to answer. There is consistent training and meeting to better their skills, which also marks their dedication.
There is no doubt this is a brotherhood, and bonds grow stronger with responses each week and as they lean on each other to deal with the emotional toll some fires can take.
Of course, we today also should remain vigilant to prevent fires in the first place.
All of our emergency workers, including police and emergency medical services, deserve praise for their dedication. Theirs is no 8-to-5 position, and their personal and family lives are constantly interrupted to go and serve their community. It’s no secret that these jobs can be a strain on families, yet this is another example of their servant’s heart and their dedication.
We all need reminders to praise these community defenders. And in the early morning hours on Tuesday, we were once again reminded to send up a prayer of thanks for their dedication and service. — K.E.C.