As the vacuum thumped away after-hours cleaning duct work at our office a powerful male voice boomed in the distance seeking answers to why a fire alarm had gone off.
Soon thereafter, Terry Ryckman appeared at my office door, confirming all was well and the alarm was false.
Blame it on technology being too quick or a poorly educated proprietor unaware that dispatch was already called, it was a surprise to see him. No harm, no foul, and apologies were extended.
It did bring to mind – just in time for fire prevention week – how heavily businesses and residences rely on emergency services personnel. When needed, they are there. Even though we can count on them when the chips are down, residents and business owners have responsibilities, too. Safety is not a one-way street.
There is some good information in our fire prevention section this week speaking to kitchen and cooking safety.
More than one chef has had a little boil up on the stove or had an accidental ignition of a cloth while preparing a meal. How to handle a grease fire and remembering to reset an alarm after a batch of bacon got a little too crispy are all things that should be known around the kitchen. Taking shortcuts knowing a professional fire department can always clean up after poor habits is just plain wrong.
Further notes on general safety are found on page 21. Many of these items are common sense, but the reminder to take a look around and check things out happens in early October every year.
There is more to say about firefighters themselves. Probably 20 years ago now, the concept of critical incident stress was made known to readers. Fighting fires and responding to emergencies of all sorts is a demanding occupation that tests wits and endurance, particularly when engaging in traumatic calls.
Far too often these men and women, who have families themselves, are called in to handle vehicle accidents and more macabre incidents. These people are our neighbours, friends and perhaps even family members, who have huge hearts and the grief associated with witnessing preventable situations must weigh heavy at times. If the chance comes up, give thanks one-on-one for their dedication all year round.
Yes, accidents happen, but for the most part citizens have a role in ensuring their conduct is safe and not reckless. Do your part and look around – safety is everyone’s duty.