Invermere Ambulance Unit Chief Peter Hecher (left)

Invermere Ambulance Unit Chief Peter Hecher (left)

Emergency responders keep us safe

Volunteer firefighters contribution to public safety still plays a vital role in society

Volunteer firefighters are professionals who practise their profession on a part-time, usually on-call basis. Their contribution to public safety still plays a vital role in society. In fact, being a volunteer firefighter is not always easy; time must be committed to a principal source of income while remaining completely available for when an emergency arises.

There is no doubt that volunteer firemen share certain characteristics with other part-time jobs, particularly on-call work. This, however, is where comparisons come to an end — not everyone can become a volunteer firefighter. The selection process of candidates is very rigorous which means the population is in good hands. Basic training is the same as it is for full time fire fighters. It is also possible to specialize and some can possess highly specific skills.

What is surprising about this profession is that it includes people from different trades and professions, who have in common a highly developed sense of duty and altruism to the point of putting their own lives in danger. Volunteer firefighters are found mostly in lightly populated municipalities or in a grouping of municipalities covering a large area.

Paramedics play a key role in our healthcare system. Their numerous interventions can mean the difference between life and death. These professionals must have exemplary composure and be well-balanced both mentally and psychologically.

Every time paramedics are called to an emergency, they never know in exactly what state they will find their patients. Some scenes would make your blood run cold. A paramedic’s great strength resides in his or her ability to make rapid decisions while considering a multitude of different factors, depending on the context. Every gesture must be made with care and follow certain rules.

Over the years, paramedics have had to offer more and more advanced emergency medical care. Before, members of this profession were called ambulance men and did not possess the same degree of expertise as the paramedics of today. Now, these professionals are authorized to carry out various medical procedures, such as providing basic trauma care and administering certain medications.

“Specialized” or “advanced level” paramedics can be found working in some Canadian provinces. Among other procedures, they can provide advanced respiratory assistance and use electrocardiograms. In short, these front-line professionals work in conjunction with doctors and nurses more than ever before.

The police are an essential part of public security services. Unfortunately, some people have little respect for them. It is, however, a difficult and dangerous profession that requires nerves of steel and exemplary self-control. Even though a police officer’s main role is to represent law and order within society, their work also involves other, underlying roles.

Police officers are in constant contact with that which is truly complex and unpredictable: the human being. Their work brings them into contact with the best and the worst. If good physical condition is often among the hiring criterion, their most important qualities include an affinity for human relations, a high level of self-discipline, public-spirit, politeness and a capacity for empathy.

Monotony is not a part of the job. Police officers’ work is often associated with handing out traffic tickets, which really represents only a tiny fraction of their job. If this part of their work sometimes makes them appear less sympathetic in the public eye, we should never lose sight of the fact that they sometimes save lives while putting their own in danger.

The police’s role in the community has evolved over the decades. In addition to enforcing the law, they work in prevention, public relations and the upholding of commitment to the community.