12 March 2008

911 is there for us to use

Folks, at least 100 people in Marion County are responsible for building our modern emergency response system, 911 plus all of the various departments. I am proud to have been one (and only one) of them. At least 100 people work somewhere in the system every day. You call, you get an answer in seconds from someone trained to handle the call.

Too many people either do not call 911 at all, or delay calling because they "don't want to inconvenience" the responders, or "aren't sure that the rescue squad [etc.] is absolutely necessary," or "don't want to make a fuss that the neighbors see."

I cannot tell you how many thousands of hours, tens of thousands of hours, has gone into the 911/fire/rescue/police system in every county. Your tax bucks, fire fees, phone surcharges, insurance, etc., pay for most of the great majority of this whether you use it or not.

Consider being in a school building, standing by a fire alarm. You look down the hallway, and see smoke coming from under a doorway. What do you do?

a - Wait for more smoke so you're SURE there's a fire.
b - Go down, open the door (and possibly give a fire a blast of air that will get 'er going good).
c - Nothing - there's no flame visible.
d - Pull the fire alarm.

Answer: Well, it's obvious.

It is so sad for people in the system to hear about problems or tragedies which could have been lessened if only people had called 911. If your relative goes into cardiac arrest in your car as you are driving him/her to the hospital, there is NOTHING that you can do.

Another quick example: A couple of weeks ago, my mom had a minor fall, and her oxygen line got disconnected. She couldn't get it reconnected. Fortunately, someone was home at our house to go over and help get the line reconnected. But if there had been nobody available, Mom would have been perfectly justified to call 911 and explain the problem. They prioritize calls, so if you have something (relatively) minor, someone else's need will not be met with a delay. They would have put the call out to the rescue squad or fire department (whoever was available in station or driving around) as a "public service" call. The fire departments and rescue squads don't mind public service calls. That's part of what they are there for.

Remember to thank these people. Send a tray of rigatoni from Muriale's to your local station unexpectedly. If there is a station close to your church, invite the folks there to come to special services, and assure them that you'll leave a space right out front to park the engine.


Keep your powder dry. Pippa passes.


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