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First responders deserve our gratitude Print E-mail
Editorial
Thursday, Jun. 01, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

In the aftermath of the bombing in Manchester, England, we noticed the quiet efforts of first responders to ease victims’ fears and concerns.

In so many disasters — natural and man-made — we see the heroic efforts of police, fire, and emergency medical (EMS) units. We almost take them for granted.

Yet what would we do without these first responders who offer such invaluable service? These first responders deserve our gratitude.

Blue Mass

Recently, a Madison parish showed that gratitude in a concrete way. St. Bernard Parish in Madison hosted a Blue Mass in thanksgiving for all first responders. It might have been the first such Mass celebrated in Madison. Coverage of the Mass can be found elsewhere in this week’s Catholic Herald.

In his homily at the Mass, Fr. Michael Radowicz, pastor of St. Bernard Parish, called the work of the first responders a “vocation.” These are people, he said, who use the gifts and talents God has given them to serve others.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval echoed that sentiment, saying that there needs to be a “spiritual dimension” in service work and the Blue Mass helped to “validate and affirm that dimension of who we are as servant leaders.”

The work of first responders

This might be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the work of first responders, what they do, and how we can show our thanks for their efforts.
The role of police, fire, and EMS personnel is quite varied (www.gallsblog.com). Some of their services include:

Police — Crowd control, traffic control, search and rescue, and coordination with government and non-government agencies. Most local law enforcement agencies undergo specialized disaster management training.

Firefighters — Control of fires, dealing with hazardous materials, providing primary medical care, transporting victims to hospitals, search and rescue, and coordination with government and non-government agencies. Firefighters play an important role in disaster management. In addition to handling fires, they also rely on their disaster relief training.

EMS — Response and recovery, advanced medical care, transporting victims to hospitals, search and rescue, and coordination with government and non-government agencies.

How to help

Outside of traditional first responders, many communities have also developed trained civilian volunteers. Volunteers with advanced training can be extremely valuable when first responders are overwhelmed during disasters.

So one way citizens can help our first responders is to volunteer for training. Organized volunteers are often referred to as CERT (community emergency response teams).

All of us can assist emergency responders by reporting unusual behavior. The most critical link in the chain of survival is the citizen who calls 911 to report the situation and provide details.

We can also show our appreciation in concrete ways. If we notice the good work of first responders, we can write a letter or simply say “Thanks for your service” to a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic. This is a great way to show we respect and appreciate their efforts to keep us safe.

And last but certainly not least, we can keep first responders in our prayers, especially imploring St. Michael the Archangel — the patron saint of police officers — to protect them.  

 
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