When I have had to call 911 in my life, I have been extremely grateful that there was someone on the on the other end to help. We take this for granted.
Think about it for a second. How precious is that gift of help? Now take a minute to appreciate that the people sent to help are men and women, just like us, who have signed up to risk their lives to do so.
This thought has come to mind many times this week as I have been reading the horrible and ignorant comments written about the Whistler Fire Rescue Servicesí actions in the recent fire in the Village.
Firstly, it should be mentioned that the men and women fighting this fire didnít start the fire. No, someone else is at fault for that. Yet the hostility is raining down on the crews who were charged with fighting it.
It is pretty easy to throw stones from behind your keyboard using a fake name or screen name. What isnít easy is the years of training that the firefighters have gone through, often at their own expense, to be ready to help when needed.
It is also not easy to run into a burning building with temperatures high enough to melt metal. But they do this for us. Saving lives is what they are there for, saving the building is second. I am grateful that they donít rush in until they know it is safe to do so.
Clearly the people critiquing the speed at which the firefighters went into the building donít have sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who are firefighters. If they did they would be grateful for the time taken to assess a situation and react accordingly.
It is always sad when a home or a business is lost from a fire. But what is sadder is when you read about lost lives. We forget that the firefighters, and all emergency personnel, are human beings. We cannot expect their lives to be put at unnecessary risk to save merchandise or a home.
These people take years off their lives due to the hazards of their jobs as it is. We cannot expect them to rush in if there could be an added danger that we as ignorant bystanders cannot see.
Whistler Fire Rescue Services is made up of dedicated career firefighters and also a large, equally dedicated paid-on-call crew. One should note that when those calls came in, men and woman from all over the valley dropped what they were doing and left their jobs and their families to rush to fight this fire. They did so for hours with little compensation for the risk they were taking. This is what happens day or night when a call comes in. How dare people throw stones.
If there were things that could have been done better, I am sure they will be noted and used for future training. No one is perfect, letís remember.
However, all hands were on deck and best efforts were put forward. Have you ever tried to make sure a campfire is completely out? Try that with a multi-unit building and then come back and say how easy it is.
We do pay a great deal in property taxes. What we get for our money is a dedicated force of emergency workers who put their lives on the line for us.
However, that money does not buy the right to frivolously put their lives in danger to save some drywall. It would be awful to be out on the streets due to a fire. It would be worse to know the fire killed someone due to a rushed decision.
I want to thank the firefighters for their hard work and all emergency crews: police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue, coast guard, etc. Itís nice to know there is someone on the other end when you call 911.