Andrea Rondeau column: This week is a chance to say thank you to our firefighters

Andrea Rondeau column: This week is a chance to say thank you to our firefighters

Many of these volunteers do more than just fight fires.

Fire Prevention Week starts on Friday.

I know, I know. It seems like everything has its own week, month, or at least day. What’s so special about this one? You don’t even get to talk like a pirate, or wear a particular colour.

Of all of the occasions we acknowledge as a community and as a newspaper, I always think this is one of the most important. Not only is this our chance to say thank you to our incredibly hardworking volunteer firefighters, but it’s also a good time to figure out our own fire plan.

On the first point, we cannot say enough about how exceptional our community firefighters are in the Cowichan Valley. They spend countless hours practicing and keeping in shape, keeping the equipment spit-shined, and just generally making sure they are at the ready for when the siren on the firehall sounds. And sound it does, as anyone who lives near a firehall can attest. At all hours of the day and night, these quiet heroes head to the hall at the call of duty, never knowing what they might be stepping into.

Many of these volunteers do more than just fight fires. They are first responders to crash sites, and are called out to provide medical aid. When my father was having a heart attack and we called 911 for help, a fire truck was the first to arrive at our driveway, with firefighters ready to assess and monitor my dad until the ambulance personnel got there. Fortunately he is now well, but it’s comforting to know that help from the fire department is just minutes away, even if what we need is medical aid rather than fire fighting.

These men and women deserved to be celebrated, at least once a year.

The other important part of Fire Prevention Week is that it’s a reminder. Change out your smoke alarm batteries. Check your fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide monitors, if you have them. Are all of the entries and exits to your house useable, or have you piled junk in front of a door or window that should be moved? And, critically, do you have a plan for what you will do in case of a fire? Does your entire family know the plan and have the same plan? Now is the time to think about these things, not when you’re running for the door with a cloth over your nose to keep from breathing in the smoke. Everyone in your house needs to know how to get out. They need to know where you’re going to meet after exiting the building.

For that matter, do you know what the fire plan is at your workplace? Something else to think about.

At some point this week, take a few minutes and give yourself a refresher. After all, it can’t hurt, can it?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Christopher Anthony Craig Dick is wanted by the Port Alberni RCMP in connection to multiple investigations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Vancouver Island RCMP seek man connected to assault investigations

Christopher Dick, 36, was recently in the North Cowichan and Duncan region

The Farm Table Inn is one of almost two dozen local restaurants and beverage producers participating in Tourism Cowichan’s “Sip, Savour, Support Cowichan” campaign. Pictured are owners George gates and Evelyn Koops. (Alec Wheeler photo)
Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Gulf Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

Most Read