First Responders! Who are they? Who are we?

by Gloria Savage - Posted on May 16, 2018 - 11:42 AM

When you think of first responders, what are your thoughts? Do you think about the people who are the first to show up during an emergency? Do you think of an incident that brought those emergency managers to your home or workplace? You may think of both scenarios together, possibly at different times on different days. You may be one of those people who needed the timely arrival of a team of first responders to save your life. You may not recall a single occurrence about that day. You may have only a specific smell that brings to your memory what others told you. Remain cognizant that you are still alive and be thankful.

When you think about a responder, do you see a person in uniform, or at least someone dressed to perform some specific duty which requires skills and patience? Do you see a genuine person that you believe cares about others?  A person who is often willing to put the lives of others before their life? Whether you remember the order of your thought, or whether you remember anything at all, does not change a significant fact. That fact is that those first responders are essential individuals and teams in endless communities in many counties and countries that give so much to so many as part of their daily contributions. 

Some people say the first responder is the first person who runs to instead of away from an event or incident. While that person might be considered the first to respond or the first on the scene, I believe a true first responder needs to have some specific skills and some credentials. For instance, I would expect a first responder to have certifications in “life saving” and safety. We want first responders to effectively resuscitate us if the circumstance arises, even if it is the sometimes considered “old-fashioned kiss of life.” Most people merely want to live, and first responders do their best to make that happen. 

First responders have a lot going through their minds on any given day. We can only imagine the bits and pieces of data and experiences that revisit their mind as they continue to lay their lives on the line to save and defend the lives of others. They do have their immediate and extended family members with whom to be concerned, but they also have ours. They make a conscious choice to make themselves available to assist many people who sometimes make costly mistakes. Some of the errors in judgment include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting while driving, or not paying attention because of exhaustion. Let’s not make their job harder. We can do a better job of helping first responders facilitate our safety and well-being.