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Home Columns, Opinions & Misc. Smoke on the horizon

Smoke on the horizon


Since the dawn of man, we’ve learned that gazing out and observing smoke off in a distance usually means trouble is on its way.
Almost instinctively we heighten our awareness and prepare for whatever, even if it’s just paying closer attention to our environment, or gathering what we can and going toward safer places.

Well, emergency services spotted the trouble on the horizon months ago and sure enough, we’ve all been immersed in it for some time now. Even as we negotiate our way through the smoky haze of uncertainty trying to find our way forward as a society, rest assured that emergency services remains undaunted in its commitment to you and your safety.
I spoke with Chief Nick Sergeant recently about the new normal and what challenges it presents. Chief Sergeant is the head of the area wide Fire Chiefs Association and has heard first hand from other Chiefs the changes and difficulties COVID-19 has imposed on every department, not only medically, but firefighting also. All the while he continues to steer his own department of Markey Township through the maze as well.


These are good men leading a lot of good people down an uncertain path in an effort to provide the best service possible. As we said, these folks saw the smoke on the horizon a while ago and in true fashion began to prepare, question, make ready and face head on these new challenges. You see, emergency services are permeated with individuals that when faced with difficulty, do not put their hands in the air and say “oh what are we going to do?”, rather, they roll up their sleeves and say “OK, let’s figure out how to handle this”.


Virtually every Chief in every community has echoed the same concerns and at the same time has prepared and met these concerns head on. From acquiring new safety gear, to implementing and training on new protocols and procedures. From new methods of training at home or in very small groups, or online studies, we’re all working hard to adapt and move forward.
The challenges of course, are real. Many of our people have had to deal with losing jobs, or having to stay home or endured drastically modified work schedules. Financial consequences have impacted most everyone, and when you need to find a way to pay the bills, it alters occasionally your ability to respond. Home schooling is not exactly conducive to our “drop and run” mentality, yet respond they do.


Each department has examples of personnel that have gone above and beyond in this time of need to ensure that our commitment to you remains true. All we ask of you is the possibility that you may help us by being a little more vigilant yourselves. Nothing drastic, just a few habits that might help avoid potential problems.


Things like taking that extra moment before heading out to make sure things that need to be turned off, are indeed off, avoiding potential fire risk.  Be aware that many doctors are now seeing patients again so don’t delay if you have medical needs. They are following protocols to ensure safety, so don’t wait until that minor problem develops into a medical emergency requiring an ambulance and multiple crews.
Just a few things folks, but our main objective here is to reassure you that emergency services continues to strive to provide the best for you regardless.


Each new month seems to bring new troubles our way, but for now let’s hope that the next smoke on the horizon we see is just the neighbor firing up the grill.
Stay safe folks!         

Ken Elmore, Markey Township firefighter

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