Red Deer’s fire chief and emergency services manager has high praise for all first responders and dispatchers who worked during the holidays this year.
“It really is a sacrifice, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not lost on us and we certainly try to do what we can to recognize those first responders who are working on Christmas, Boxing Day and Christmas Eve,” Ken McMullen said on Saturday.
“The first responders will tell you it’s just another day and it’s part of their shift rotation, but I know in their hearts, they want to be home with their loved ones and families.
“In a year like this, in COVID times, we didn’t all have the opportunity to be with our families face-to-face. Even the opportunity to jump on social media or a Zoom call, … I’m sure they would have wanted to have done that. But our first responders have always taken the priority of being available for our citizens. That’s their top priority.”
There were 31 first responders with the fire department and emergency services, and an additional six people on dispatch working on Christmas Day, said McMullen.
“The holidays often bring some unique circumstances when it comes to the types of calls we respond to,” said McMullen.
“Quite often we will respond to some sort of cooking incident. There were a couple of incidents involving cooking (this Christmas). We did have one mobile home fire as well on Christmas evening.”
This has been “a unique year” for everyone, McMullen added.
“It didn’t make it any easier for some not having the opportunity to be home for Christmas and Boxing Day. The chief officers certainly give our thanks for what they sacrifice every single day,” he said.